Until this very last moment I was wondering in which language should I write to you, to say Good Bye..
Romanian? Because it was our language? Because we only spoke in English with each other when you came to The Netherlands with your sister - and only when C was around?
Or English? Because many more people will understand. And care..
Draga, dear Kuki..
.. words fall short. My words decidedly deserted me these last two days, in any language.
I walk around disoriented.
Death of a loved one does that.
Because you were loved.
And you died.
So young, so wonderful, so in-love with life.
So in-love with this Earth, with all its different places.
So in-love with good food, good music, people.
So in-love with beauty.
And you died.
I sit here in the last sun of this autumn, far away from the place where your body is - and I cry.
I hope your passing was fast and that you did not have the time to realise what was happening.
I heard you look like you're peacefully sleeping.
I heard you were probably not burned. .. That it seemed that you just inhaled smoke and that's it.
Last Friday evening you went to a rock concert in the "Colectiv" club in Bucharest. Your architect friend, Vlad, was playing. You probably went there to be amongst the first, you probably were next to the scene and all the people that came after you were crowded on the way to the door. You probably enjoyed the music and the show that your friend and his band were offering from the scene. I heard that you barely missed a concert and.. - they were your friends.
And I heard some other friends of yours were supposed to go to this concert but they didn't. They didn't die.
I didn't like some of your friends back then when we were together.
I did not like how they treated me, like I was not there to stay, like I was taking you from them. Like I was not welcome to take your attention away from them.
I did not like the spending nights drinking.
I did not like that most of them treated you like they owned you.
I did not like that some of them would call in the middle of the night with the smallest thing, asking you for help.
I did not understand.
But I loved that about you. You would leave everything and go help. You would do everything for your friends.
..And now you died.
We were in the same year studying architecture but I hadn't notice you really.
Not for years, not until we went together to Apostolache for a summer restoration camp.
Rather, you noticed me.
..I was not convinced, you were not "my type".
But.. your eyes!
The eyes of Kuki in-love - the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. There was a sweetness of honey - the sweetest summer evening - as we walked hand in hand in the meadows near the monastery where we were actually working quite a lot.
Surprisingly for me (I remember pretty much everything mostly) - I don't remember much about that camp. I remember only the drawing tables on the balcony of the monastery.
What were we restoring exactly from the monastery?..
Where did we sleep?..
But I remember our short walks in the sunset.
Your blond hair shining.
Your blue eyes - in-love.
You asked me to marry you.
I wasn't sure.
We were so different, it seemed.
I loved to ecstatically dance till exhaustion, you loved the endless lazy talks and drinks with your friends.
I did not love some of your friends and your friends were everything to you.
Our time together was spent almost entirely with them.
..I wanted to wait and see.
..I wasn't sure.
..Marriage seemed such a big thing...
I told my mother about it and she also wasn't sure. It seemed that we were so different, she said. And I did not love some of your friends, she said.
I just loved you.
It did not seem enough.
I still remember my anger at my mother for stating the obvious. An obvious that I did not want to see.
..Than you fell out of love.
Somehow all of a sudden your blue eyes got icy cold when you looked at me.
We were still going out together (with your friends) and now that you were out of love I was desperate to get you back.
But because I did not love some of your friends it was really difficult to even talk to you anymore.
It felt like they all were expelling me.
I remember a party where you invited me.. You and them were celebrating and you were all ignoring me.
That was really painful. I was advised by one of your friends to never ever make my appearance amongst you again - I was not welcome.
You told me I wanted too much from you.
That I was making you tired and that you were never tired before.
That I sucked your energy.
Soon after, we were invited to Paris to finalise the project for the monastery (which was a collaboration with a French team).
For one week we worked like crazy, the only thing we saw from Paris (being there for the first time) - was the metro, the hotel room and, just for half a minute in the morning and half a minute in the evening, the Tour Eiffel from afar. Plus, the class where we worked at the project.
We had decided to stay in Paris for one more week after the project finalised - so we can see a bit of Paris.
Together we looked for the cheapest hotel (that we could afford).
We arrived at the hotel in the morning and we - we were so beat! - went to sleep just then and there.
It was the most awful hotel I've ever seen (and I've seen since!). Because we had very little money we had booked only one room with one bed - that was supposed to be double.. It was a "lover's bed" she said at the reception with a wink.
As we walked on the shabby stairs in the very old, fallen apart building I asked myself if this was such a good idea. They only had one shower "per floor" in a hole (they made) in the wall, right on the staircase. No kidding, the door was opening right in the middle of the stairs. It was just a hole in the wall and I doubt there was any way to ventilate (in hindsight), the air was not to breathe even if the door was closed.
"No breakfast" they said. Good, we said to ourselves, we did not have any money for food.
The bed was probably nothing more than 1,20x1,90m as there was room in it for a very bit more than you. We could barely move around the bed. You are tall so your feet hang out of the bed. The tiniest room I've ever seen.
You made a joke that we should've better come to this hotel after the week of no eating ahead.
Laying in bed you fell asleep right away, almost while talking. I looked out the window and immediately I was sorry, it was looking down to one of these - I am not sure how to call it - like a hole between the buildings not bigger than our room - for ventilation. Beneath our window there was a dalmatian pooping on this surface that was totally covered in this poop, probably his toilet for years. I guess opening the window was out of the way.
I went and took you in my arms so I would not fall on the floor from bed. I hoped to God that I would fall asleep.
That night you slept perfectly (and snored) but I could not really sleep. There were mice in the room. Even when I sent them away, they continued to run though the walls.
Deep in the night, after the mice went quiet, I heard a horrible scream at the door and two guys fighting, one banging on our door to let him in, screaming in English that there is someone with a knife following him. Then I heard a big thump on the door and a horrible noise that seemed like somebody giving his last breath.
I did not open the door.
You did not wake up. The next few hours until the morning came, sitting straight up on the bed, I listened terrified to every little sound.
I waited, afraid to have to open the door. I was consumed by regrets that I could've maybe saved someone from his death but failed to do so..
You woke up ready to conquer Paris.
Totally refreshed (how I envied your sleep at that moment) you took your camera and walkman and we proceeded to go outside. I told you bits of the night story and said I was surprised that there was no blood under the door - but that we should probably expect a dead body. You were amazed that you did not hear anything.
We opened the door and there was... nothing.
Later we heard that the whole story was two americans' idea of a "French joke". They were renting a room down the hall from ours.
You and me went different ways on that first day of Paris.
I said, good that we did not marry each other.
You said, if we were married I would be still in-love with you.
I wondered if that was true.
You went to see the new Grande Arche and all the modern architecture.
I did not have a target, I just wanted to wonder through Paris on foot. I arrived shortly at Cathedral Saint-Paul and I stood there, thinking about you and weeping.
Than I wept some more because all of sudden I thought about my grandma who wanted so much to see Paris but got the visa for Paris a few months after she died.
When I later arrived at Center Pompidou I went inside, I sat down and listened to music in the library. They had CDs in the library! I pretended I was a client of theirs, looking like a belonged (haha) - I just took a few CDs at random and went to listen to them so I could "choose" which ones to take home - just like anybody else.
That was when I discovered Bjork - and I wept again because her music was so amazing.
Somehow, magic was a huge part of my life back then, maybe even more than now.
Later that day, after Pompidou closed, I met a friend on the street! That's right, I had a friend in Paris and he was just coincidentally walking past where I sat. I did not even know he was in Paris - but there he was - and hearing about our hotel adventure he offered us his apartment - near Montmartre - to sleep in until the end of our Parisian adventure.
So we slept better the next days - and we even went together to see some architecture one day.
You gave me some music to listen to with your walkman.
It was Peter Gabriel. And later, the last Simple Minds album.
You were so nice and right there and then I knew that was it. Our ways had parted.
.. and now you died..
A few years later I met C - and after a few more years I was leaving Romania to go to the Netherlands.
You came to my farewell party.
It must've been the next summer that you came to the NL to see Peter Gabriel - live! in Rotterdam. You and your sis stayed at our place, me and C's. I took you everywhere and showed you the NL in it's full glory. You loved it here.
And we went together to the concert. It was my first "real" concert and what a blast we had!! I only saw Sting after that - but you were in-love with music and concerts and you went everywhere for your favourite bands and singers, all over the world.
Just like last Friday, in Bucharest in the "Colective".
A year or so after you visited in the NL I was in Bucharest and I called you on the phone. We met at the Piata Romana. You told me that you took my last name, that you were now called Ioan Voiculescu - almost my name, Ioana Voiculescu. We laughed about it and then you cried. You had taken that name because you were married. And the marriage just had ended a few days before. You were devastated.
I was sad to not have known that you were so happy and in-love - and married..
But with you, we just saw each other once in a few years and the love was always there.
In another form, but as deep as always. Even with few years in-between, we could always pick up where we left our conversation - and the love would be there.
Years later, again, V was 2 years old, I went to see you at the Fabrica. Your new office and you were planning to open a "placintarie". You loved V and we saw each other a few times that summer, once with your girlfriend then, Ioana. We laughed, first you took my last name through marriage, now you had a girlfriend with my first name. Life is funny like that.
I asked you if you want children, I said you'd be a wonderful father.
So kind, so loving, so sweet. So calm and helpful. So joyful and loving life. So wise. So enjoying and so enjoyable. So full of love.
You said: Maybe later. I have enough time. I first want to see the world. I want to be able to work like crazy until deep in the night. I want to enjoy life. And then commit to a child. There's enough time.
I followed your adventures on Facebook. You went to see the world. I saw you loved the colours of Thailand, the light of Portugal, the craziness of Milan. You opened Kuki's Food and Fun. I saw delicious food pictures.
I was on a parallel path, with raw food, totally different but parallel. And you had your architecture.
We again lost touch.. Occasionally on Saint John's day you would pm me to say "La multi ani, Ioana" and I would answer "La multi ani, Ioane".
Last year you've sent me this picture. You took this picture of me in our first year of faculty, when I did not know you. When there would take me other 5 years to notice you and we would become friends..
I only today discovered this picture - somehow it escaped my attention on FB. Only now, when I opened my messenger to say my last good bye to you - in vain but I so felt like it - I discovered this picture.
Without any word, you sent it to me at 11:11 October 21, 2014. A year and a bit ago.
I did not notice it then.
A year and a bit before you died.
They say in Romanian "Dumnezeu sa il ierte" - May God forgive him.
Kuki, there was nothing that God should forgive you.
..You should forgive us.
..Forgive me that I could not totally love you as you were. That I wanted to change you.
Forgive me that I did not know.
Forgive me that I did not want to marry you.
Of course, I loved other men in my life. And you loved other women, some named as me.
Maybe it was not "meant to be"...
Maybe I was no "marriage material".
Maybe we were not "supposed to be together".
Who knows?.. It does not matter.
Kuki, you know, I met few people as good as you.
Bun ca painea calda. Painea lui Dumnezeu.
Asa ai fost tu.
Good as warm bread. God's bread. Untranslatable.
The way I know you, in the moment those flames started, you maybe saw the irony in it and even smiled.
The poster, with a head in flames, a band called "Goodbye to Gravity" after they played "the day we die".. - the day you died and you said goodbye to gravity.
The way I know you, you did not push, you did not scream, you did not even say anything.
The way I know you, when the flames engulfed the club, you were waiting for everybody to get out and be safe.
The way I know you, you wanted to help everybody and you would've sacrificed yourself to help everybody.
The way I know you, you laughed at the joke of one of the boys in the band who said "this was not in the program". You chuckled and you thought to yourself, this will be a great story to tell.
The way I know you, your soul flew away amazed at not feeling the heat anymore.
But you know, those few seconds when you could not breathe - they break me.
Those seconds when you maybe thought about everyone you leave behind, on this Earth you loved.
Those seconds when you so wanted to go on living and you so much loved life - and life was coming our of your body.
.. Those seconds when you maybe thought, because you knew, those insulation materials should not go in flames like that. Those seconds when you maybe wondered who the fuck was the architect who made the project. And who the fuck where those people who decided for this club to not have enough doors for escape, to have no fire repelling materials, nothing.
..those seconds when you maybe kneeled and fell on the floor, saying goodbye.. Those seconds of darkness before the endless light.
Those seconds when you looked at your life and you maybe said: I loved this life.
Please forgive us, the people. That we did this to you. That some of us people made this club where you died suffocated. That we did not love you enough, you and these other souls that left their bodies at Colectiv. That we loved money more than we loved you.
I am 3000km away from where your body is lying like you are peacefully sleeping.
The evening you died, I posted on Facebook about the fire.
I even thought, why do I post this? It does not have much to do with me. It does only spread pain.
It's not like what I want to spread, a message of love and joy, sun and flowers.
I went to sleep listening to the silence and I though, this pain does not have anything with me. I would never go to a club like that..
.. To wake up and to read that you were there and are not here any more..
That you died.
I cried since then..
I searched and searched - since then - for the proof that it was not true.
I only looked at the official lists in the evening. And there it was, your name.
Yesterday I still could not believe it. Today I still cannot believe it.
Still, there it is. Tomorrow your body will go into the ground.
I walk in a haze, my brains not working. The street is not safe for me and V these days. until I can start orienting myself again. These days, I mourn you. I say I love you. I wish you... I wish you drum bun.
I know I am not alone in this.
All your friends and family, all the hundreds of people who could not help but love and love you, we all feel the same.
Angry that this - something like this could happen. Angry at the system that allows for 95% of clubs in Romania to be like Colectiv - and worse. Angry at life, although death is always a part of it.
In the same time, we are all alone in this. Alone, crying for you, not having the words. Not being able to be comforted, even if we talk to each other about it.
The only thing we can do is feel it. The pain. The desperation that you are not here anymore, your kindness and patience, your enthusiasm. And the LOVE. The love we had for you, the love you had for the world, your smile always present, your amazing big big huge heart.
And what we also must do - yes, must do - is let you go. Talk to your soul, tell you how loved you were - and letting you go. Not hanging on you, not asking you to stay.
Cause you cannot stay.
Your place is now between the stars, flying, free from gravity.
Death changes people's perception - the death of someone we love.
I am changed.
We are all changed and hopefully things will also change in Romania because of your death.
Oh how I hope that was not necessary and how I hope it did not happen..
In the same time, you enjoyed the world. And I, we, enjoyed you.
Kuki, iti multumesc.
Drum bun, Om Bun.
Stiu ca Dumnezeu, daca exista, te-a iubit intotdeauna si o sa te iubeasca acolo in Rai. O sa ii faci case frumoase si mancare buna - si o sa te uiti cu dragoste la Pamantul asta frumos pe care am avut aventuri impreuna.. Poate o sa faci poze de acolo de sus cu o camera mai extraordinara decat ai avut aici vreodata.
Poate ca te-ai intalnit cu Opu, v-ati imbratisat in sfarsit dupa atata dor si te-a condus la lumina.
..Poate ca vreodata o sa te intorci aici pe Pamant si o sa vezi restul de locuri frumoase pe care nu ai apucat sa le vezi in viata asta care tocmai s-a incheiat atat de subit si de tragic..
.. Poate ca nu ti-a parut rau ca nu ai mai avut timp.
Si te asteptam inapoi sa ne soptesti cum sa fim buni si blanzi si iubitori cum ai fost tu.
Drum bun. Farewell in Heaven. Rest in Peace, Kuki
ps from 11 November:
I was looking at the videos on Youtube with the concert where you were on October 30th.
Scanning through all the moments when the camera was turned to the public I caught a one second glimpse of you, my dear friend. Of course, you are smiling
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