Memory album's most precious acquisitions: The Sketch Of a Pawn On a Checkered Carpet

If this were a visual memory, a few seconds long feature in a film, it would have been a perfect bird’s eye view shot. I was lying on my checkered carpet, honest laughter coming through the short and heavy breaths, spilling over uncontainably.

I spent the last half an hour dancing alone in the dark of my room, only using the slight flickering of the lights from the street from behind the curtains as they swayed in the wind, as my own little personal spotlights. I was never a dancer, but in the safety of a space that was mine and only myself as company, I felt compelled to move each part of my body in all speeds and directions under the spell of the music, feel the limbs stretch out and bend, pay attention to the tension in the muscles, and how easily it released. It made no sense to dance to the angular harmonies and rhythms, to match the dramatic bow strokes of the quartet. It made no sense and danced and I danced until I felt too warm and tired and light headed, and then I just lay down right where I stood, like an only chess piece, an oversized pawn that waddles in solitude after the sore loser angrily swept the rest of the pieces off the board. I was elated, lips stained with red wine, my face covered with a glow of sweat, and I was just laughing, laughing at the sheer pathetic sight of it all, had someone been able to observe the scene, laughing, because my lungs, my heart, my whole tired body felt so light, so full of life and freedom.

There is only one kind of happiness that feels this dizzying, and it has nothing to do with the one too many glasses of wine, it has nothing to do with what you ever did or who you were ever with - it is the laughter that floods into you after it has been suppressed for the longest time, the happiness that appears only in the form of a morning shadow - larger than the object it follows, larger than life. 

This happiness knows no fear or doubt, because it only lives in present, and it does not care what anyone might have to say. It is a rare kind, a beautiful butterfly, a collector’s piece. Fragile, extremely demanding for conservation.

It is many things at once. It is acceptance, forgiveness and kindness. It is a sense of worth, that, put on a delicate antique apothecary scale, outweighs precious stones and gold. It is a belief, once torn apart, restored. It is hope and carelessness at once, it is both a breath of relief and acceptance of responsibility.

It is a farewell to what was and a greeting to what might be.

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I always liked your purple clouds

The water is still. I always think of an impressionist’s brush striking the canvas when I look at its calmly sparkling surface. It’s moving without going anywhere, it dances left and right, with no other purpose than to reflect light in thousands of little mirrors. 

I am the only one on the walking path, but on the other side there are two women watering plants. The trees and bushes in their gardens all in full bloom, and today’s sun allows for all the colours to shine in their proudest, brightest colours.

My steps, the gentle clinking of the boats tied to the walls of the canal, tiny voices carrying over from a nearby playground, and birds chirping a variety of songs - all quiet sounds - gain much more significance in the absence of anything else, and so it is easy to focus on the rhythms they create, the imperfect cluster of sounds that, contrary to its disarrangement, feels so comforting.

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Natalie Kulina (1996) is just someone questioning if and how all the things she regularly writes in her biography really matter and if and how they define her.

She was the local bookworm in her small sleepy hometown growing up, to the extent where the librarian would just leave stacks of new arrivals from the kids section on the counter for Natalie's proof read, before patiently listening to her excited, hasty reviews and putting on colorful stickers signifying the book's genre and category.

There was no greater pride than getting to decide which shelf becomes a host to each new book.

A lifetime achievement.


Natalie has often also tried to trick the library into purchasing new shiny publications she saw in the bookstore vitrines in the city, by sticking around the suggestion box casually until the librarian wasn't looking and then quickly faking different children's handwriting (and inserting small spelling errors for her own entertainment [author's note: wait, was I just a pretentious little mean brat?]) on those dust collecting little paper sticky notes.

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