Cornelia Păun Heinzel: “Déjà vu”   Translation Andrei Pavel

Cu mulţumiri scriitorului din Norvegia, care a verificat şi

corectat traducerea, asigurându-i astfel o calitate ridicată



If someone would have told me that it is ever possible to go back in time, I would not had believed him. But look, in one day, I lived such a situation in reality.

In the morning, when I arrived at the body name ,,Lyon'', of the Polytechnic University, my head of department told me that he immediately needs to me:

-Valeanu, today you go with the students to practice at a company. The bus is coming right away to take you to the location.

I immediately complied with the indications and I went out in the yard University. The students were cheerful and talkative was they waiting for me near the bus. I told them to go in and I did the same. I occupied a place in the middle of the vehicle.

-Come to the front! the driver bus invited me, an old man with cute figure.

-Yes, yes, go there! said the students , who believed that my presence, will prevent them from doing nonsense.

-No, I want to stay here, I said, thinking that I always like to be more between students and I feel good with them.

The buses run smoothly on streets of the capital, until they get out of Bucharest. Then I was dumbfounded. I thought we were going to a company in Bucharest. I did not know that the company is out of town. Soon appear these were cultivate fields with cereals with the specific rural zone. On the roadside occasionally guarding lost a fruit tree. Soon I entered the first village. The settlement was full of stately mansions built one after another. Appeared a mall. I never had seen until such a building of this size then in a rural area and with this intended primary destinations.

Our way continues on the road,  on the crossed area fields. At one point, we went off it and took it on a country road. I thought that was the end of the road. But it wasn't like that. The bus took on the field, to the stubble. And so crossed, after several minutes appeared a strange buildings  from some strange sheet metal construction, like the old shacks of the workers from construction, but more clean.

The bus stopped.

-Okay, we reached our destination, says the old man. Get out of the car!

I arrived immediately in front of the buildings. One was open sliding door like a car garages. I step in and a elegant lady, dressed in suit stretch one hand a manly way and she said with loud voice:

-I'm Marilena Ionescu, manager of the Ancient Electronix. Welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay in our company.

-Dan Mihai Valeanu I said and I turned my eyes with curiosity, to find a chair where i or dirty clothes because the seats were in an advanced stage of wear, such is no longer in currently the country. All the experience of over twenty-five years have been scrapped. There were chairs from another era. The Socialist era !

The women had guess my thoughts.

-You can sit there in my seat, she said, showed me in a corner a chair more elegant but still from the earlier era.

I settle on the director's seat, leather, swivel. And then he pointed scartain under my weight. I was scared I might fall and I studied to see if it can resist.

Students knew what to do. They had been here several times already. They entered in the cabin and they changed in blue robes, which was printed company name 'Ancient Electronix'

From where I sit, we had a wide view over a large area. And when I saw that, I was captured with everything. The hangar also hat floor. From there, some heads appeared indecently, studying me with curiosity. They were clerks in the firm's accounting financial compartment, located upstairs on a carrier sheet which climbed upstairs on the metal sheet...

Looking around me I realise that such a place had seen used only in communism. Today companies have a completely different look, with  different equipments.

Worktops, old, were arranged in parallel rows just like in the workshops of the socialist era. In the huge hangar at the numerous tables and chairs, as ancient, that were distributed to dozen of workers who stuck electronic components on boards textolit. Occasionally, some walking around slowly, without an end, others went with an air of bored, to the coffee dispenser. That thing as a student at didn't see, before the Revolution. Unbelievable! It had been twenty-five years and this place that was unchanged. Nothing had changed! The work atmosphere, furniture, layout of arrangement people dressed the same with the same attitude... even the hangar with sliding door, metal stairs, the floor with the same floor was the same.

I realized at one point that the furniture enclosure was known by me. It was the same when I took my practice in the students years. Tables, chairs, bench vices and equipment with gripping parts, machinery that I knew. It was also a bending machine and guillotine shears for cutting sheet metal, galvanic baths where there were sinking textolit pads. I noticed then, paradoxically, that the people were the same. But they had other figures over the passage of time it's mark - their hair was white and sparse, the faces where furrowed by wrinkles more and less, per person but others showed a prominent belly or excessive had weakened that become. Abated even in height, entered to water. I look every face reminding me how they looked about a quarter of a century with traits that still kept unchanged, eyes, softer, who lost in their liveliness, their head and face shape and of course the mode of employers which there one were.

It was lunch time and they had drawn all their sufertasele stew, just like Ceausescu. I didn't  sow it before, someone coming to the service, the food - it was stewed potatoes and tomatoes. Some  of them had some pork bones, witch a little pork meat. It was the same that the workers served after the meat disappeared from nutrition people and was given only on ration.

At the specific electronics and computer firms, usually in present day they served catering products ate fast food, a coca cola. Maybe occasionally, there is someone who takes from home a fruit a salad and a sandwich.

The students had found coffee dispenser and they didn't leave it. The products price was very small so they introducing continuously coins selecting tea and coffee.

-Teacher ! Teacher! Come! It's so cheap! Take some coffee, a student said while handing me a plastic cup with steaming coffee.

-Thank you, but I drunk at home, I said. I don’t drink coffee more then once in a day.

-But there is no problem, Teacher. We drink five and we have nothing. It tastes special. It is not like the usual, which we drink every day.

In that moment, the steam of coffee which was gives to me enter in my nose who instantly expands, for investigate and I realise that it was a smell that didn't smell it is a long time. It was old coffee smell of chicory so called nechezol.

I curiously came near to dispenser and I recognized it in. Was the same dispenser which we requested when me and my colleges students being at the practice hours.

Unbelievable! I thought. These people brought their furniture, equipment, vehicles, metal enclosure to the middle of the field. But they kept even nechozolul era's…

I went to the toilet. On the sinks there were two soaps from another era. Socialist era! The same were the toilet paper and the washing detergent toilet. Next door there was a closet with a open door, where was stored: soap, detergent, toilet paper it the same as twenty-five years a go.

Here, in the midst of swampy field, closely guarded by stray dogs, it was teleported a big part of socialist institution.

If soon was two o'clock. The students gathered quickly and jumped in the bus.

The car started to go in a swampy mad fields, leave in back the hangar belonging to another time. We returned back to civilization! I become melancholic, while I looked at landscapes that were different than that  we saw at the first time because the driver had chosen another route to so back.

The cheerful and exuberant energy of the young people by my side create a pleasant atmosphere, entertaining. What they saw was something new and their were fascinated without knowing why.

-Do you wanna work here in the future? I asked them.

-No, professor. We won it. We like here, just for practice, because it's different...

The bus went, passing through villages.

We entered soon in the capital and appear high sumptuous buildings, with walls of colored glass in which had headquarters the big electronic companies, built in the old industrial site. The young people dressed in suits, with ties and in hand a cup of steaming coffee or  a  cigarette, were at the balconies or at the entrance at the ground floor of a buildings. And the spread aroma was very pleasant. It was the unmistakable scent of a natural coffee.


We came back in present and in civilization !

In next days, my students from different groups showed me some electronic components in their pockets.

-But where did you get then? I asked them staring. Then I remembered how stressful were the cleaning  ladies at the university, when in the toilets were brought auxiliary equipment for storing soap, paper, dry hands machine, very modern, until they all disappeared together. In my time, no student would not have taken even needle from practice or from university. The grow up in profit obtain, changed people completely...

-From '' Ancient '' Mr. Teacher, they answer me with loud voices.

-Well, why did you take it? I questioned them, curious about their gesture.

We find a new use. Bostoaca took even a picture, looks like the manager, which is dead, someone told me and showed me a picture of a man in a suit.

I took it in my hand and I was dumbfounded. It was a picture of the former director of a institution where I had done my student practice. Mr. Ionescu...



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