Many generations attempted to leave the village. Sooner or later though, they returned to their mothers’ warm polenta and cheese dishes, stuffing their mouths to avoid exhaling broken delusions, the ambivalence of growing up to the promise of a promising future, a once potent potential undone. Alina used to curse them for abandoning their roots and now she clenched her fists and called it growing up when friends pointed out the hypocrisy.
Back in the days, Alina’s father used to warn her not to step foot past the edge of town, so naturally, she proceeded to do just that. Aged six, she crossed into the next village and then the next. She decided edges weren’t anymore real than spells and spirits.
That changed when Răzvan snuck Alina in his room ten years later. The Fray was playing on his grandfather’s car radio when their lips brushed in the dark. Răzvan said she smelled like daisies, which was funny because daisies were repulsive to her. She thought his hair smelled like death. A shudder traveled through her, when she found her own edge. On the way home, the stars opened up above, inviting her to spread herself bright and dark.
At the airport, Alina fingered for her plane tickets and passport. Watching the planes land and take off, the realization settled that the village was utterly unreachable. The entire village wanted Alina to make them proud. In a way, her story was the people’s hymn, a clocking battle song spreading hope on a capsizing boat. All she had achieved was earning a scholarship at a Swiss University.
She couldn’t decide whether Switzerland was seducing her, or if she was flirting with travel sickness, much less if her Romanian village was ever going to welcome her back. For all she knew, Switzerland was a place people went to retire and die.
Unfamiliar voices crowded around, drifting here and there. None seemed to be from anywhere. During boarding, The Fray’s Wherever this goes started to play and as she arrived at hear seat, Alina closed the window frame, realizing that Irrespective of where she was, she’d never edge out of herself. And just like that, something seduced her, beyond edges and borders.
***Ana Prundaru is the author of two poetry chapbooks, 1L4S3T (Etched Press, 2015) and Unstable Constellations (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her work appears in SOFTBLOW, Kyoto Journal, CALYX, and 3:AM. She lives in a forest-side home near a zoo in Switzerland and will probably never get used to being awakened by lions’ roars. ***