1990. I’m leaving Sarajevo forever. Soon after my departure, the war will begin and I will never return there again. Those who know me know that for me my comrades are the most important thing in life. “First outside. Last back home.”
In my new home, Skopje, I have no friends. But that’s why I have my skateboard with fluorescent plastic brakes, as Josh Browlin from the film Treshin’ and the famous brightly colored 80s. “I’m trashin'” in the streets of my unfamiliar and new city for me, although Skopje is the city of my ancestors. The first thing I notice when I grate the asphalt is the endless plain, the great boulevards and the bicycle paths that allow me a smooth and long, long drive. This is unusual for someone born in Sarajevo and accustomed to steep hills and narrow streets.
My lonely journeys through Skopje on a skateboard or my BMX with stickers led me from Debar Maalo, by the quay, through the Stone Bridge to “Kultura” in the building of the Music School. The child who loved people became a boy who loves books. I spend hours and hours in the big bookstore “Kultura” in it’s big dark hall, while the middle-aged ladies behind the cashier and the house plants next to the book shelves are silent to my presence.
Outside, my bike is waiting for me, and then with the new book in the backpack, I head to the MNT to the curved side surfaces, excellent for the speed launch and the countless stairs that break the plain and bring me into new adventures.
In Sarajevo, from my street towards the former “Hajduk Veljkova”, large and long stairs led downstairs and were a challenge for every good biker. Immediately after that we descended to the Music Academy and the Catholic Cathedral and we ended up in the old-bazaar where we skillfully avoided the people. In my new city, the stairs before the MNT offer the same excitement, but this time without a faithful companion next to me and his common smile, the purchase of ice cream and Coca-Cola in the local grocery store after the 1985 Olympic Games.
Again in Skopje, its endless flat space, the old Stone Bridge, the bookstore “Kultura”, the plateau in front of the MNT and then, a new discovery, Tabernakul, the new bookstore in the premises of MNT, and inside – the new world of alternative literature, comics and art, “Margina” number 2, a magazine that changes my worldview forever.
Soon in my life, new frinds will enter, and they will slightly diminish the pain of the newly emerging situation in my former city, the metal rains, shocks and shouts, the ignorance of the fate of my former comrades.
With my new friends, Timur and Vlado, we are constantly challenging and proving who is braver, stronger or better. Regardless of whether we are on Vodno and we are racing to the top, or we are behind the Zoo and climbing the wall that surrounds the wild pigs, with a plan to catch them with spears, like Rambo in 1982’s eponymous movie.
Agaian in front of MNT.
“Who will go first?” I ask.
“Timur is the tallest, he will hold his hands and we will climb up on him, then we will help him,” Vlado says.
We are soon on the roof of the MNT and we are heading up. Those who know me know that I have fear of height from childhood, but Timur and Vlado still do not know me well and I have to hide my fears. We are at the top and we lie down the edge. I look down and I don’t feel my legs. However, I soon relax and enjoy the view from the height of my new city, satisfied with the lost of fear and the achieved “mission.”
In our childish naivety, we imagine the winter that is coming. We will take my plastic skis, which each member of my former company had in the cold and snowy Sarajevo, and we will descend down the roof of the MNT down … and then when we reach the edge … nobody knows.
But one thing I know – in front of us is the infinity of fantasy!
June 21, 2016
(the text is published as part of the book for the exhibition “Heroes for a Day” at MOB)