A Message to My Butterfly
by Gabriela Sbarcea
Beyond the realm of reason
Emotions constructed a chaos,
Just like an abstract painting
Splashes of colors on a blank canvas.
Patterns … there were none,
Red round drops next to green and blue shapes,
There was no need for order
To compose the superlative beauty of love.
After many months of persuasion, a friend finally convinced me to open an
account on Facebook, a social media Website that had gained world-wide
popularity overnight. Facebook was created by a college kid who became
one of the youngest self-made millionaires in history. Soon enough I
started spending way more time than I should have on the site; it was
truly enticing. It was addictive, a delightful contemporary evil,
altering social interaction radically forever. It spread like a highly
contagious disease, a waste of time taking over busy lives in the era of
advanced technology and reduced human contact.
Although I was sure I wouldn’t find Tudor on the site, I decided to search
for him just the same. And guess what? I found his name and profile just
like that. The picture didn’t look at all like him, but I sent him a
"friend" request anyway. If it wasn’t him, I figured he’d ignore it. A
couple hours later, he posted a message on my wall: “It was so nice
meeting you. I asked Razvan if we could all go for coffee this weekend.
I hope you can make it...”
I was overcome by emotion. So he had liked me after all and wanted to see
me again. I wondered if he wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see
him. Silly school-girl meanderings. But I was cautious - many of my
friends on Facebook hadn’t heard of my split with my fiancée, and somebody
posting messages on my wall could raise the risk of soiling my
reputation. I wasn’t prepared to face that just yet.
I was tempted to respond to Tudor’s post with a post of my own on his
wall, but that would have raised a red flag and signaled the world how
taken I was with him. Instead I sent him a private message. He was
Romanian, and because I wasn’t sure when he came here or whether or not he
was born here, I thought it was safe to message him in English. My
command of Romanian had deteriorated over the past few years, and although
I still spoke English with a Romanian accent, I was determined to adopt my
new language and culture as quickly as possible. I mean, when in Rome, do
as the Romans do, right? Sure, once in a while I still got homesick, but
I had always managed to fight it, concentrating my energies more on my new
homeland and less on my old.
Tudor responded to my message in English, and I was grateful. The chain
of messages between us, two minds bound instantly by an unknown, unseen
force, are humbly recorded in the epistle below, allowed to speak for
January 2, 2009
Adelle - Sure, would love to go for coffee - only that I live in Lincoln
Park and don't quite drive, so when you are in the city, give me a buzz.
By the way, I loved your party and I had a wonderful time being around so
many people from home again. It was a pleasure meeting you!
Tudor - Lincoln Park? Even better. Where about? I will call you over the
You are amazing, I hope you know that. My date sensed you as a threat
instantly and I was smitten with you in the same amount of time... Look
forward to seeing you again!
Adelle - Now, now ... you are making me blush. I just thought you are a
fascinating character just by looking at the pictures and things on your
walls. I did a fair amount of travel around the world myself. I hope I
did not create any problems; I had no intention of the sort. My deepest
apologies for that.
I live at Armitage and Clark.
P.S. Also thought you are intriguing and remarkable at the same time.
January 3, 2009
Tudor - Thank you, you are flattering. Coming from you it's equally so.
You exude distinction and magnetism beyond words. You didn't create any
trouble, nothing that I wouldn't welcome, that is. You have a look in your
eyes that's irresistible. I just couldn't pry myself away from it. I'm
sorry if I seemed persistent.
Armitage and Clark? That's a great neighborhood. Maybe we can meet a bit
west of there, at Cafe Babareeba, on Halsted. Let me know when is a good
day for you.
I'm glad you came to the party... really glad! Here's my number as well.
Just let me know when you're free and I'll make the time.
January 4, 2009
Adelle - I see that some of our first impressions are mutual. Thank you
for your thoughtful and kind words.
I've been living by the lake ever since I came here, eleven years ago, and
Lincoln Park is like my home now ... well, I should say my home away from
home. The lake reminds me of the Black Sea. I grew up practically on its
shore and when I miss it, I spend time on the balcony, I go for a run or
get on a plane and go home.
Razvan called yesterday, briefly, and mentioned the three of us could meet
for coffee today around one. I am not sure what happened, but since it is
passed one, I suppose this may not work today as I have early dinner
I will ring you next week, maybe we can do dinner at Cafe Babareeba
sometime during the week or next weekend.
Tudor - I heard you grew up in Eforie Sud. Nice. I used to spend summers
there as a kid. I like the sea as well. I love Miami, or Cozumel. I enjoy
snorkeling and scuba diving. Do you?
I'm sorry lunch plans didn't work out today. Actually, I'm feeling a bit
weird myself. I just split up with Cristina, the girl I was with at the
party. She stormed out of my house, because she was under the impression
that I didn't post enough pictures of her and I on this site. She was
right. Maybe, subconsciously, I didn't. Maybe, as charming as she is, we
don't have enough in common to make it last. Perhaps it was genuine
jealousy, who's to say? Maybe my paranoia about the fact that her interest
in me is solely based on getting her papers in this country has a lot to
do with it ... a lot of maybes, too many...
Yes, let me know when you have time for a coffee. Let me recover from this
rebound. It's weird, when you're in a relationship, even though the
feeling on both sides is that it's headed for a dead end, you still suffer
when it's over. The attachment, I guess....
Enjoy your day!
Adelle - Hmm ... I haven't ventured out yet to scuba or snorkel ... great
fear of sharks. Miami was like my second home for a couple of years when I
travelled there for work and fun so I would say that it is great, but I
would trade it in for the quiet and white sands of Destin, mainland FL by
the Golf, anytime.
I am sorry to hear about Cristina. She seemed to be a nice girl.
Relationships are difficult and sometimes no matter how much time and
effort you invest in them the “happy ever after” is not guaranteed. As a
friend, if you would be a woman, I would recommend watching Sex and
the City re-runs on TBS every evening ... but I am not quite sure what
works for men ... I would say maybe Sartre's book The Age of Reason.
I am going through a long and painful breakup also ... and I am not sure
how and when I will make it final. I recently, two months ago, officially
broke off my year-long engagement to a wonderful Ukrainian man ... purely
for cultural differences and because I wanted to find a way to live both
here and home since all of my family is still there and refuse to come
here to the states. My parents are the only Romanians I know with green
cards who come here only to visit once a year and can't wait to go back
home after one week.
For about four years and a half I spent so much time into a world that
became more foreign in time than my first instincts perceived it. Since he
is a great character and we've had nothing less than a blast together, I
was hoping we could work out our differences in time and he would
eventually accept my need to be home as much as here, learn some Romanian,
etc. His family is here and he is very much attached to it ... the
possibility of him moving to Romania with me even on a temporary basis,
sometime in the foreseeable future, is not likely. He learned no less than
about ten Romanian words since we met, while I learned enough Ukrainian to
carry on a conversation. Yet, we are struggling because we both admit to
these differences and at the same time, are bound by some trait of
feelings that for now, at least, refuse to die off as easily as we
expected. Although we both know this is not going anywhere in the long run
and we would both be happier to be with people who are closer or at least
neutral to our own cultural backgrounds.
I have some Romanian friends, very few, so one of my own mistakes I
recognize is that I haven't been more involved in Romanian circles. This
New Year's, your house full of people from home, was the breath of fresh
air I needed ... I felt closer to home once again ... not trapped in a
world I half dreaded and blocked off for the dear sake of someone I cared
In the meantime, my friends have been more of a life support system,
especially in the past couple of months ... meeting new people has also
been a great deal of help. Every person is like a book ... sometimes being
able to read between those lines helps you make sense of your own.
Coffee as friends would be lovely. I hope you feel better soon.
Sorry to hear about your situation, as well. I honestly don't know of any
truly happy people. If that is the case, then they share some major grief
for a common tragedy. God has a sick sense of humor...
I'm glad you felt that this group of Romanians made you feel at home. It
is only one group I could have had over this New Year's Eve. I know
Romanians coming from all walks of life, some high-class intellectuals who
rarely associate with the "commoners" and some low-life Romanians whom
I've since screened out of my circles of friends. On occasion, people from
each group intersect, and then you see them together at my house. I've
managed to bring them all together at times, and when the music is on and
when the basic instincts of hunger and thirst are quenched, barriers
disappear and they all forget who they are for a moment (unless they start
talking about religion or politics!). I like to attract people with open
minds, people who can make an abstraction of their ethnicity and social
status and talk about ideas and ideals beyond our mundane confinements.
For that, however, we must have smaller parties.
We have to preserve what's good from everyone. We'll keep our cuisine and
some of our songs to remind us of home, we'll take from the Americans
their politeness and decency and organizing skills, and from the Polish
people their hard work and perfectionism and so on...
...And we do go home, to Romania, because we were born there and
inevitably our nostalgia draws us there. However, we go there as tourists,
because no matter how much we'd like to live there, we realize we have
evolved at a higher pace here, and while Coca-Cola commercials and
everything that the capitalist surface has tempted the world with has been
adopted by the mother country expediently, the deeper core that formed
this country was misunderstood. America took 200 years to get where it is
and Romanians don't understand that. You cannot make a good book analysis
if you only look at the cover and read the title page.
But... we'll talk more when I see you. I hope you like coffee...
PS. How did you hear of the party, from who?
I never answered Tudor’s last Facebook message. Enough was said to confirm
that our feelings for one another were aligned perfectly …we were already
in a mist resembling something beyond simple attraction and didn’t know
it, or if we did, our rationale rejected it. We were both mature enough to
understand that for something of this magnitude to be less than an
illusion would be almost irrational. Could it be real? Possibly. Was it
likely? Hardly. Yet, we lived every second of it. Every emotion cut
through us with the speed of light and the depth of the universe alone.