A Frog in Spring
‘A girl named Jelena from the Fifth Belgrade gymnasium has finally found a boyfriend. She asked him: Who are you? Simply, he told her – I’m your boyfriend.’ Duško Radović
Ah, how things were easy in the good old days when Jelena was in high school. “Who are you?” – “I am your boyfriend”, and everyone was happy. It is not that easy anymore.
Jelena has changed. Boys have changed too. They did not leave Belgrade. The Belgrade of their childhood and youth has gone, never to return. Hard rains have been falling for 15 years. Flora and fauna have changed. A jungle has grown on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.
It is what it is, and there is nothing we can do about it. The jungle is full of princesses. It is also full of danger, even more so since Tarzan was locked up in Nebojša’s Tower. They are torturing him there, just like they tortured Rigas Feraios. They are dictating their rules, the Laws of the Jungle. Docile creatures now stand face to face with lions and tigers. Who will prevail?
Jelena studied during the age of the big rains. By the time she graduated, global warming had kicked in. She started to work, part time. Her decision. Smaller salary, more free time. More time to buzz around town and meet with friends. Many friends. To listen to their stories and to tell them hers. To offer advice and solve emotional crises. To pair odds and evens.
It fills her with joy. She smiles all the time even when she, supposedly, has a headache. She has a catchy smile. She is using it for noble purposes, inoculating others from daily neurosis. Small talk versus hard thoughts. Why not? Prozac may be better, ha?
Jelena has stepped into her thirties. She has not grown up yet and still consumes independence in tea-spoons. She takes care of her figure. She would and would not like to be independent. She would like to live alone; she hates to cook. She would love to have a boyfriend; she does not have one. She keeps asking: “Who are you?” Each and every one of them simply says, “I’m your boyfriend.” But, she is asking in vain. No one is. They are lying.
They have a different concept of being a ‘boyfriend’, or a ‘girlfriend’ and their life together. They would all like to have the ‘same things’. Misunderstanding, however, comes from the fact that the same things are imagined in different ways. They are simply unable to reach a common denominator.
There is no justice in this world. She, who matched more couples than marriage registrars, is chronically alone. Something does happen here and there, a spark goes off sometimes, but it never lights the flame of love. It is either ‘he is not for me’ or ‘I am not for him’. And it runs in circles, several circles. Circles of 10,000 metres, the entire length of the marathon, which never ends. The goalpost keeps moving away. Maybe it is not meant to be reached?
Running around makes you bored at the end. What for? What does it lead to anyway? So why not rely on technological advances, when they are just a few clicks away and cost nothing. Click, click and you are done. There you are, online and networking. You have your profile on Facebook, your biography, profession, photographs. Hundreds of photographs: summer holiday, winter holiday, work, parties. In every pose imaginable.
It was worth the effort. You became a star. A rising star, or a falling star – that depends on your luck. Friends of your friends are passing by to check out how friends of their friends look. They send a virtual flower, smile or hand kisses. And that is how something is created out of nothing. Jelena likes sweets. She fell for sweet talk. Her defences melted from too much sugar. Deduction and induction got completely stuck.
“Did you hear the news?”
“I fell in love.”
“Did you? That soon? Who’s the lucky one?”
“Papadopoulos. He is a friend of a friend. We met on Facebook. We’ve been chatting for several weeks now. He is so sweet. We’re totally compatible.”
Love spread faster than a huge fire on the Peloponnese peninsula. Firemen are helpless. No one can extinguish such a great love. And who would have the heart to crush the eternal happiness awaited for so long and searched for so hard?
By the next newsflash, Papadopoulos was already on his his way from Greece to Serbia via Đevđelija. He reached the border on his white horse when Macedonian policemen started to make trouble in an act of pure jealousy.
Jelena was in a state of soft meltdown. Will her dear Papadopulos make it to Serbia alive and healthy? Will everything suit him? In which fairytale shall they live happily ever after –Serbian or Greek? It does not matter. A fairytale is a fairytale after all.
Nothing should be left to chance. Dialogues from favourite movies were rehearsed. It was necessary to be prepared for such a demanding and difficult role, to materialise a reverie, which started off well. The only thing is that a white horse cannot live up to Kraljevic Marko’s Šarac, it is too slow. And those Macedonians, they are just trouble makers. They dared to come between two lovers.
Alas, even fairytales are not what they used to be. Everything is turned upside down. After three days of riding, Papadopoulos finally reached the city gates. Princess Jelena was waiting for him. There was no end to her happiness. Her dream had finally turned into reality.
She hugged Papadopulos, kissed him and… her prince was suddenly transformed into a frog! His sweetest words turned into an unbearable ribbit. The eternity was crushed in one moment. Actually, that moment became the eternity.
So, what happened to Papadopoulos at the end? There is no information. It is embargoed. He ribbited his tune and probably ended up in some swamp. Who knows? Perhaps he re-appeared on Facebook.
Jelena keeps on going. She is online again. She does not give up. One frog does not make a Spring.