The Disappearance of the Outside (pt. 2)

19 Nov

He says.
“Did you get into the armoire?”
“No.”
“You didn’t get into the armoire for anything? You didn’t find the envelope?”
Suddenly, this becomes a very volatile time. My father can snap into one of his tirades from just about anything. His two-hour lectures and monologues can be triggered by the simplest things. So I’m careful and clear with my ignorance…and how I get across my innocence.
“No, I promise.”
“Mmyea,” he says now looking through me and beyond, into some strange void. “I had a plain envelope with 5,000 lei hidden in between some clothes in the armoire, which was locked. Only you and I know where I keep the key. Did you get into it? It was 5,000 lei…in tens and twenties.”
“No, I didn’t. I really didn’t. I have nothing to do in there.”
“Mmyea…” he trails off for a few seconds.
Then.
“Secu,” he says.
Secu was short for Securitate–the state’s Secret Police. They loved doing little things like this; like sneaking into your apartment, unlocking your armoire, counting the money stashed in a plain, white envelope, then leaving it, but writing in red pen on the left hand side of the front: “5,000” in tiny numbers. Just a little “hello, we’re watching you and we know everything you’re up to” from your secret friends.
“Mmyea…”

Twenty-eight years later, I am sitting at a work luncheon, small-talking with some colleagues when a new employee detects my accent and asks me about my heritage and past. I tell her. “Aaah,” she exclaims, “then you must know…oh…uh…you must know…the Romanian poet…”
“Eminescu?”
Blank.
“Arghezi?”
“No, no….” she stumbles, “oh, what is his name…I listen to him all the time on NPR…on ‘All Things Considered,’ all the time…”
“Codrescu”
“Yes, yes…Codrescu,” she says happy with herself.
“He’s at LSU.”
“Ah, is he?”
“Yes…I’m not so fond of his stuff though,” I say; “he did write a pretty good, little book called ‘The Disappearance of the Outside.’ It became quite famous in certain circles.”
Blank.
I continue.
“It’s a…well, it’s sort of an extended essay or an examination, really, on the parallels of Communism and how it oppressed citizens and their freedom, and Western capitalist society and how it systematically robs its people of privacy and enfranchisement, only through economic means and class discrimination, as well as racism and sexism. But it was written many years ago, so it’s sort of prophetic, you know…”
Blank.
I continue.
“Although nowadays, with this administration, the overt infringement upon human rights and similarities to totalitarianism remind me of the mess my parents got me out of in the late 70s, when we immigrated to the States.”
Blank.
I take a sip of my ice tea.
I make railroad tracks with my fork into the mashed potatoes.
I cut a slice of turkey.
I say.
“So…how about those Panthers? Think they’ll repeat the Stanley Cup this season?”
And then, suddenly and gratefully, I get left alone and become lost in the cacophony of predictions and prognostications for the fate of the local hockey franchise.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “The Disappearance of the Outside (pt. 2)”

  1. momentofchoice 19/11/2007 at 1:34 PM #

    you’re gooood. i’ve made room on the bookshelf for your novel(s). hurry.

  2. (S)wine, Inc. 19/11/2007 at 3:50 PM #

    i am tired.
    who is all of this for?

  3. momentofchoice 19/11/2007 at 5:03 PM #

    it’s for those who want/need an escape, or for those who want/need an eye-opener. it’s a creative outlet for you. it’s an opportunity to pay some bills. oh, was this a rhetorical question?

  4. (S)wine, Inc. 19/11/2007 at 6:17 PM #

    that bill part hasn’t yet happened.

  5. slyboots2 19/11/2007 at 9:52 PM #

    Now you have given me a book to read. Thank you.

    Also, you need to work with people like us- we would enjoy that kind of lunch discussion. We hate hockey talk. Well, hate might be too strongly put, but poor Kboy is resorting to watching football on the weekends so that he can have actual lunch conversation at work. Seriously. It makes me sad inside.

  6. (S)wine, Inc. 20/11/2007 at 5:05 AM #

    sly, it’s the only one worth reading, imho.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: