Hidden away in my study at home, buried underneath skirt designs, discarded patterns and an occasional rolling cotton reel, the moment I leave for afternoon classes feels like emerging from a deep, narrow cave into an exulting victory of colour.
It is the 1st of March, and the streets of Romania are celebrating the arrival of Spring.
During the last several days Bucharest has gradually shown the signs of change, and flowers had become popular, but as suddenly as a firework explodes at the end of one bright trail in the sky, so has the city burst into one enormous artificial garden, and they dominate the space. Wherever I look there is the shadow of a flower.
Being in a closed space doesn’t make a difference. Once inside the subway station the invasion follows me here. Mixed perfumes reach me as they take over the atmosphere. Women, young and old, wait for the train to arrive, and walk, talk and sit with a posy in their hands. They hold tulips, roses, and hyacinths, and I even see a solitary, proud orchid among the crowd of common flowers. Some are held upright, others upside down. Some are in transparent wrapping, with tiny hearts decorating it. Others are inside a small, decorative bag or in a pretty wicker basket.
The subway stops with a screeching of brakes, and I walk into the coach. The world may have advanced technologically, but today flowers have taken over.
An old lady sits in front of me in the swaying coach and in her dry, shriveled hand she holds a fresh, red rose. I watch her and am impressed by the contrast. However, what does it matter that its holder is wrinkled and wasted with age? The flower she is holding will remain pure and unblemished for the day and will give her a small pleasure in her tired life.
I emerge downtown and again the transformation shocks me. The boulevard has become populated by street vendors offering home grown flowers, and corners are crammed with baskets carrying blossoms of every sort and kind. Those who are fortunate enough as to have their own shops stock their display windows with bizarre arrangements to attract clients. It is a riot for the senses.
I rebel against walking inside the building, wanting more of the rich feast that is unfolding before my eyes. The colours and the smells, the feeling of being among fresh and young blooms, the promise of Spring they bring, all call to me and tempt me to stay longer in this unusual occurrence. I know that tomorrow all this will be over.
Ultimately my spirit submits once more to work and a closed door behind me.
After all, I have the comfort of memory.