Three Belgrade Scenes
A man walks with a slim, light brown dog in a leash along Bulevar despota Stefana. When he crosses Vojvode Dobrnjca he notes that he no longer has only one, but two dogs. This one is sturdy and dark brown, but it seems friendly enough so he moves on. After passing Palmoticeva he has three dogs, and after Džordža Vašingtona four – one white and one black. When he reaches the National Theatre he has a whole pack of eager, barking dogs. One by one, the dogs break free from their leashes and start running across the Republic Square, over the ridge, down the bloodsoaked slopes of Belgrade where the houses evaporate and turn into morning mist over fields of flowers growing from the decaying warriors in the soil: Serbs, Illyrians, Romans, Turks, Greeks, Hungarians, Germans, Huns, Goths, Bulgarians, Celts. And the dogs keep running over the brinks of the Danube, the plains of Vojvodina and the hills of Šumadija.
A man drives his Yugo from Zastava up Takovska. It is eight o’clock in the evening but he seems to be all alone. This puzzles him so he steps out of the car. The street is more than thirty meters wide, but the vegetation from the Botanic Garden is creeping at his feet like a green froth. As his unexpected solitude makes him more bewildered than anxious, he steps into car and drives on. Soon enough, he notices that the houses are stepping out into the street without looking, and as the TV building suddenly falls infront of his vehicle he takes a sharp left turn into a street which he doesn’t know and which wasn’t there before. He stops to read the road signs. They say ”A sad princess who spent much time travelling” and ”A weary partisan who loved hearing the cowbells from the valley”. He drives on, goes down ”The duke that hesitated and regretted” and tries to find his way out this maze by following ”A man of many virtues who wrote many stories”. Finally, his Yugo comes to a stop as the front is squashed between two houses who stretch out their balconys to hug. The street signs in the corner says ”A man who lit his pipe and tried to make sense out of it all” and ”A woman who hid among her books”.
A woman walks down Kneza Mihaila and the heels of her shoes are slowly growing higher and higher. When she crosses over to reach Vase Čarapića she overlooks the heads of her countrymen and the roofs of the cars, feeling free and agitated as she walks on. Higher, and higher she goes, and soon she can take whole blocks in one stride. When she reaches The National Assembly, she is already far out into space and all she sees where the bottom of her soles are is a pale blue dot and she has a strange sensation of euphoria that says ”nothing really matters” mixed with a deep sadness that whispers ”there must be a way” and a single tear falls from her cheek into the void of space.
10 april 2014