Friday, July 22, 2011

A Novella from “Affairs of the Heart” By Borislava Borissova


Chapter First: Late 1930’s, Istanbul, Turkey
It was a Palace of which people addicted to history, orient, and beauty had dreamed of visiting. The best architects and carpet masters used their chance to leave a trace through the ages by creating a magical home that preserved the spirit of old traditions. The colorful walls and ceilings of the saloons, fine crystal, and expensive furniture contrasted with a simple, small bedroom where its resident preferred to spend hours in solitude and dreams. Despite there being a long time before the fall of darkness, with a need for sleep to call silence over all the rooms, it appeared too quiet to him as if the night reigned already. So much the better!
Lying on the modest bed, his mind, dealing with many hovering thoughts, could make decisions and rest when there was silence. As his life stretched to a fatal crossroad once again, at first he tried to remember his most important days on earth, what he was, what had changed his strong views, his steady opinions so much and when it started happening. Perhaps, when he was over thirty, but in those years what remained unchanged? Every day in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the world was saying “Good-bye” to something that had been rooted in it for ages.
November 5, 1914, Sofia, Bulgaria
It was a snowy, beautiful winter in Sofia. The capital city appeared cleaner and brighter under the cover of white snowfall, which hid dirty spots, black tree branches and dark roofs. But the touching beauty remained nearly unnoticeable by the people who crowded the main streets, especially those between the Orthodox church, “Saint Nedelya” and the Bath Bashi mosque. A year ago from each of these holy places, divided by a small garden and a police equestrian cordon armed to the teeth, voices for victory could be heard. Bulgaria, a former part of the Ottoman Empire and the Empire itself came out of the war between them, a war which exhausted, devastated and suffered. After huge victims and privations, in the end, for the winners there were only hatred in the hearts, intolerance in behavior, and anguish in emotions until deep pain soon prevailed over everything else.
Now, the police between the temples of Bulgarian Christians and Bulgarian Muslims were needless and no body showed any surprise at the girl who came out of the Saint Nedelya church, only to take a few steps along the garden and stop at the entrance of Bath Bashi mosque with a lighted candle in her hands. The church’s service was over. It seemed the same at the mosque. Only Mustafa was missing in the yard outside. Perhaps he needed to pray longer. The girl stood peacefully, waiting near the wall, as if she’d had all the patience in the world. Some women in peasant dresses walked by her, a few people in modern clothes took phaetons. The town was becoming more cosmopolitan with every passing season. She scanned the passers-by with sincere curiosity until a man slipped on the last shoes being situated outside as his religion forbad taking them inside and stretched his hands suddenly toward her.
“Maria, let’s take a walk to get warm. It is too cold out to stay at a place. I had a word with the imam. I gave him a rosary over which he vowed he will say prayers for nine days then return it to me to take with me everywhere I go. You see, nothing is easy for me. Being with me, everything will be difficult for you, too.” He sighed deeply. “So, I prayed and promised a big offering to Heaven. It must be on my side, on our side.”
She whispered, her breathe touching his ear, “I left bread and flowers, and paid for the three great Bible prayers to be read for us - Ciprian’s ones, Dignity and the Lord’s Prayer. I took this candle and if I manage to keep it burning all the way home, my request could come true. In the church, in which you would never enter, I prayed to my Christ to provide his blessing for both of us, not only for me.”
Moved, Mustafa sincerity showed clearly on his face. “I asked my Allah, with whom you have never been familiar, to take care of you because I will be far away from here soon. I must go to a place where you should never be. My road leads to the front line.”
A wheezy scream flew from her breast. “Not war! Not a new war!”
“I am a soldier, Maria! Three days ago Serbia and Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire. Now France and Great Britain have done the same.”
“If Bulgaria enters this war, it means we will be enemies again, on top of all the other differences which divide us.” She sounded desperate. “The only common thing between our countries remains one borderline. Why? Peace should be the most common thing between humans! Even militaries must know it!” Maria held the candle carefully despite the risk of falling down on the slippery streets. “Loving Heaven, good and white, suffused with dreams from our earthy side, first give us peace and piece of love, and also for hopefulness might.”
As he listened to her voice as if she offered a prayer, he made a shelter around her candle with his palms to protect the flickering light from the snow and wind. Close to him, the snowflakes made sparkling crowns over her hair an instant before they melted. She appeared so beautiful, as nothing else under that sky.

Read more here...

Image of Borislava Borissova Borislava Borissova considers herself a writer by soul because, although she have been working in the field of Human Resources for years, at home, in her free time, history and writing are the important passions of her life.
She is more than happy to share both of them with other people. She takes the readers through ages, through countless earthy and celestial places and lifelong adventures to meet her characters in their settings, to be part of their life...
Welcome and take a seat next to her to feel the stories :)))

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