Triumphalus, Or The Sunset Of The Stallions

excerpt The Old Geezer had come again to the shore of the Black Sea to buy himself an eye. The other reason was to spend a honeymoon here. As a rule, he would go back with an extra honeymoon and the same number of eyes. Five years before, appalled as he was by the fact that the number of those who could see with their right eye started to halve, he had decided to seek the advice of a famous Asian astrologer. He had the right to see how the world and its beings look like before he should pass away. The astrologer read his stars, translated his runes, went into a trance, questioned some souls, read his Tarot cards and told him clearly: You should buy it from the same place where it burnt out. The Old Geezer's eye had unexpectedly burnt out in his homeland, while he was asleep and he was overtaken by the insensitivity of faith. He hadn't lost any eye in the Great War, when both your eyes were more endangered than your head. He was embarrassed about buying a left eye in his own country, perhaps because of the way in which his country fellows would see the world. Now, that the countries were about to join, he could choose to buy his eye in a much larger space.He had found out that the barbarians in the Balkans had been allowed to feed their eyes on some free world and he had drawn to the conclusion that the latter's eyes were livelier, more durable and special because they had seen many a thing. Their eyes were well-trained. The Old Geezer's pension was enough to buy even one of the barbarians' god eyes. He could exchange it for his dead eye, to be exhibited in one of the new collections or eccentric museums. The notice on the glass box would read: "Western eye in meditation ". As usual in the last ten summers, while he was relaxing for a month on the seashore and having his bones tenderized by some blind masseurs, the Old Geezer was welcomed by his young lover, the best half of the honeymoon. Samy had barely turned thirty hot summers old and she had become more sensual and childish after her secret conversion from Sofica into Samy. They got on very well, although Samy had a sweetheart in the army and the Old Geezer hadn't fallen in love for half a century. His wife had retained a memory like an elephant, full of trifles and this and that, and she was already bereft of any sexual passion or compassion. She resembled a wall clock. The Old Geezer had hardly had the time to feel the lack of love throughout a life in which to be loved often meant to be totally insignificant. Samy welcomed him at the customs with a bouquet of roses as crimson as the blood of youth. "Oh, my soul," Samy cried out, bursting into the same tears as always. "I have been longing for you, my old sweetie, God knows how I managed to survive." She was as stunning as that night in which the Old Geezer had sat down in the hotel's bar to have a whiskey after his massage and she had looked at him with sad, puppy-like eyes, as if the whole transition was deploring its misfortune in those eyes. It had been a love at three quarters of sight, because the Old Geezer's left eye had burnt out and they both barely had two eyes between them, if we count the influence of her tears. During the first night of their re-encounter, they made love like crazy. The Old Geezer was some true garlic: white head and green tail. Samy must have suffered terribly in the interim, since her screams had become richer. The Old Geezer was always thrilled by the sensation that it was not in her hot sex that he pushed his organ but into a stereo, polyglot brain.Under the duvet, in the light of the three eyes, Samy had confessed that that summer they would undoubtedly find their lost eye. She had spoken with somebody who had made a serious promise. These Balkan mutts had started to awaken. A couple of years before they used to sell for a dime their kidneys, testicles or impressive pieces of their stomach, lungs or liver and now they had found out the real prices and they did not run to corner the market. But the Old Geezer needn't worry, this summer he was bound to leave home with both his eyes. Samy dreamt of getting pregnant, of gifting him with a baby who should be seen by the future father with both his eyes. An eye and the medical operation cost as much as they usually spent in the first half of the honeymoon. With some luck, leaving aside the regrets that they hadn't done it years before, when the prices were fairer, the Old Geezer would go back with one and a half honeymoon. A summer before they had given up the idea of buying a glass or a sheep eye. It was helpless, even if that doomed land had been overwhelmed by the desert and it could have used some blade of grass in their imagination or hunger. The glass eye could have a negative impact on the Old Geezer's love, as it could foster lucidity and impartiality. A glass eye would ruin the balance required by a mad love, and a sheep eye was in no way needed. In the first morning of their honeymoon, after they had drunk their coffee and fruit juice on the balcony, the Old Geezer suggested going to the bazaar and buying a lot of pancakes. He had a craving for pancakes. In his country, not only the women but also the pancakes seemed plastic-like. Samy agreed, she was mad about pancakes, she put on her make up, she put on her new rosy dress and went down the bazaar. The smell of the pancakes made them feel dizzy. Husky, sleepy voices invited them in four of five international languages to have a tour of the resort in the best carriage in Europe, romantically guided by horses."Not bad a drive. Me miss drive in carriage," said the Old Geezer.Samy didn't answer. The Old Geezer turned to her and suddenly that bitter, foul-smelling jealousy fever of his went up. Samy was watching the horses. She was holding in a fast grip the cardboard little plate, waiting for the hot pancakes, and she couldn't take her eyes from the horses. To be more specific, from the horses' sex organs."What you saw, baby girl?" And because he could speak Samy's language better than a horse did, and because Samy could provide explanations in the same leafless language – since it was the only language in which the Old Geezer received explanations, without becoming suspicious –Samy kissed his cheek and cooled down his courage of a bad foreign language speaker who wouldn't stop talking, by telling him:"I feel pity for the horses, my love. Samy loved very much horses, dogs and roses."The Old Geezer calmed down. The organs of the horses were humiliatingly big, but this year they seemed huge and didn't allow for pity. They may have doubled because of the poverty. The horses had lost a lot of weight and this was probably an efficient way for your penis to grow.It was a day to remember for Samy and The Old Geezer. They had sunbathed in the nude, alone and in love on the hot sand, supervised by nobody, not even by the half-starved crows and seagulls which knitted I don't know what unseen canvass in the sky. They had got a tan, had drunk a lot of draft beer, and it was only after lunch that Samy was brutally hit by the curse of her sweetheart, the soldier, as her period came. She cried. She cried once more. The Old Geezer tried to soothe her and to remember what year had Samy's native lover started his military service. He didn't know how long the military service lasted in this country, unless it was prolonged by some time in jail. He didn't know many things about the army, although he had had a most bizarre military service himself. It was in the last months of the Second World War. According to a decree, about ninety young men were recruited in the Old Geezer's neighboring district, and they were sent to the front. But not to that front on which you could leave your bones for nothing. But not to that one on which you could leave your bones for some great ideas, either. No. The Old Geezer's legion had a very special mission. They were supposed to wait on the edge of the front until a sonorous voice ordered them on the phone to put on a certain uniform and crush the enemy. They had more than four kinds of uniforms. One was that of today's enemies. Another one was that of today's allies. The third one was that of some potential enemies or allies. And the other ones were plain, no signs, in hardly definable colors, as universal as possible. That is how the Old Geezer had brought his share in the re-shaping of the borders and the glory of the war."Samy sad?""No, baby. Samy moody. Samy edgy because of period, but more because of eye."She was sad and hopeless because the one who had promised to help her wouldn't call. If he didn't call until nightfall, she would go to his office and take a grip of that precious eye, even if she had to pull it out of his head. The Old Geezer tried to soothe her. He invited her to a tour in the carriage, in the most romantic carriage of Europe – they said that uncrowned queens and kings had had a drive in it and then, if the man didn't call, Samy would go after him and come back with the eye. The man had no reason to lie to them, since it was not about his own eye, and the eye was to be sold, not donated. The sum was not to be ignored, was it? They would trade it for the burnt-out eye of the Old Geezer to be exhibited in some specialized museum, with the inscription: "Western eye, donated heart and soul."Samy gave him an endless kiss. They chose a high carriage, whose seat was covered in thick, scarlet silk. They felt slightly dizzy because of the smell of urine on the dry grass and they set off to see again the small towns to which they felt attached through the countless unwritten verses, which couldn't have been defiled by dumbness, mother tongues or the black holes of their lingua franca.The carriage driver was an old gipsy, shaved like a groom, wearing some cheap cologne, clean and witty. He didn't seem to be a swanophiliac. He led a simple life: when he didn't drive foreigners in his carriage, he got drunk, made babies or swelled colorful balloons, which were sold by his children, grandchildren and even his great-grandchildren. He loved doing that: it was like a sort of confession. The Old Geezer got along perfectly with the driver – his name was Pilica – and he didn't feel like giving up a longer discussion with him. A conversation started in the carriage, continued in some pub, in that international, beatific space in which the illiterate rapidly befriend those who don't speak foreign languages. Samy hardly forced a smile from time to time. The Old Geezer was interested in the life of the people inhabiting the land, but also that of the horses and the carriage drivers. Pilica told him that the name of the stallion was Isaf. The name was of Turkish origin and meant enough, sufficient or enuf, as the Brits say. It was the most beautiful, the most thoroughbred horse and Pilica had named it Enaf, not to be harmed by the evil eye. You couldn't have more than that. No mare could give birth to a nobler, handsomer, more loving stallion. Had Isaf had its foreskin removed, the Old Geezer asked. Oh, no, laughed Pilica, he is a freethinker. The night had fallen and Samy grew impatient. She asked them to see her to the Eastern corner of the resort, kissed the Old Geezer, waved and left for the left eye. There was no need for the Old Geezer to accompany her. My girl problem health, he said to Pilica. Woman problem. With a smile intended to be waggish, Pilica replied: We all woman problem, esteemed gentleman. After Samy's perfume got lost in the night, the night turned into a sort of a drunk wheel of fortune and ages, as the old men decided to get a big bottle of gin and wander all night long, all life long if needed, until the end of our sight, if the case. Isaf held on, it deserved its fame of the noblest horse in the whole Europe. The old men sauntered by, knocking back the booze, until they witnessed the famous multiplication of the bottles and they laughed and spoke in all the human languages, including the language of the horses, and nobody knew how the Old Geezer managed to reach his honeymoon room, not that anyone cared. When the sun rays scratched the eyelid of the only eye left to him to admire the sun risen above the Black Sea, the Old Geezer realized he was so feeble that he couldn't even vomit, just like sometimes on the front when a new order obliged them to change their uniform only ten minutes after they had put on another one. He started counting loudly, maybe in an attempt to call back his sleep or awakening and when Samy entered their love nest – or the invisible room of his fears – the Old Geezer, frightened, stopped counting, in order to listen to the news brought by her dear voice. The problem is solved, baby, the voice kept repeating. Wake up and enjoy life, you have already got two eyes, I was just passing by and a hearty man, one of our Balkan fellows stopped me and told me: What are you looking for, my love? An eye, I said, here you are, he said and pulled out his eye, here you are, it is useless for me, I've had enough of seeing the beauty withering in the blink of an eye, of staring into the eyes of the absurd that keeps pissing us off, of blinking, there are elderly people who cross the world just for an eye, they need it more than I do, here you are. And he went on his way. And when the Old Geezer wanted to ask: You asked, honey, if eye left or right? about three kilometers away from his natural curiosity, Isaf the stallion, surrounded by endless salty waters, horse foam and blood, was trudging silently in the clearings of the after-life, with a knife stabbed in the right-hand part of the heart, and the master of Isaf and of the knife, until the news hit him, went on drinking even in his dream world, snoring like most of the nomads do: their soul elsewhere. Ardian-Christian Kuciuk (the literary pen-name of Ardian KYCYKU), an essayist and translator, authored many books in Albanian and Romanian; he was born in 1969 in Pogradec, Albania. PhD in philology and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Theology of Bucharest.

by Ardian-Christian Kuciuk (b. 1969)