I met Zila in Bosnia at that time. We never talked about war. We were trying to get away from everything that reminded us the horror, death and suffering. Peaceful days, if they ever were, we carried out on the bridge. Bridges are to Ivo Andrić holier than temples: "Of all the things a man in his life instinct raises and builds, nothing in my eyes is better and more valuable than bridges. They are more important than houses, more sacred than temples. They belong to all and treat all alike, useful, raised always deliberately, at the point where it intersects the largest number of human needs, they are more durable than other buildings and do not serve anything that is permanent or evil." We were reminded of the bridge connection, it awakens in us the hope that one day people connect again, that they will be facing each other and realize that our Earth is the only real home. While the river ran away in front of our eyes, I remembered the words of Leo Tolstoy: "People are like rivers: the water is always equal and the same in everyone, but each time the river is narrow, now fast, now wide, now silent, now cold, now blurred, now warm. It's the same with people. Every man carries within himself the germs of all human traits and shows sometimes one, sometimes the other, and often he does not look like him, but he remains a unique and himself." Zila did not speak much, but everything that came out of her soul was lived and honestly. The sad and strong, she stood on the bridge and watched the distance. Her deep and dark look was telling that her heart had found its home in that distant space. As a watchdog she kept her distance, her only the tower, tall, inviolable. Now, as I write this, I always remember one December and the story told by her heart. That cold December day might have been as any other day if Zila had given only her look to the river. This time she gave the river a beautiful yellow flower. I felt that she wants to tell something. I was all ears. - I once met somebody - she began the story. "It was the most beautiful December 19 in my life. Winter was already on the threshold, but that day the sun was shining. Only one tiny part of that shiny day turned everything into magic. I met a man about whom I was dreaming. He was created in front of me from the light, like the sun seen my dream and sent him to me with their December's rays. His look and move silently whispering: "I expected to see you here, even for a moment that I'm near you. You do not know who am I, I'll stay secret, your morning and your dream. I just want you to know that I'm real. We will meet again there, once." In just a few moments the whole world was only ours, I hung in his eyes. He walked right by me and disappeared into the crowd. The magic remained after him. His look built up my sacred place. When I lose hope he always finds it. When things go wrong he is my strength. He is my breath when I lose my strength. When my soul pressed pain, he is always there, in the first sunbeams. When I turn off the road, he is my path, star in the dark, a beacon in the fog, fire in ice, spring in the desert, the ship on the high seas, tenderness in the wild, sleep in insomnia, smile in suffering, a hug in emptiness and the music in silence. Every year on this day I send him one flower and find him in my heart. I still believe that we will meet again, perhaps on this bridge. - Zila ends the story. I've never seen one being such a force like the one in Zila's eyes. She believed strongly in something known only to her, hugged her distance and her secret. The Bible says that for too long the anticipation is killing the heart and that desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Too long expectation strengthened Zila's heart and unfulfilled wish kept her alive. Everything about her story was clear to me, but one thing I've never been able to figure out: where could she find a beautiful yellow flower in that war chaos in midwinter?
The story about the flower, author Suzana Stojanović, December 19, 2014