As I said goodbye to the Turkish trucker and his prostitute, I jumped off the truck and landed on the solid ground.
Nobody, nobody was in the view. The only noise was from the truck’s engine which went further and further. Then silence fell, from sky and earth, right upon me. There was the yellow light of the road lamps lining up the empty road. Flanking the road were endless dark fields, no houses, no people and even no animals. There was a sign on my right side — Plovdiv. “Is this Plovdiv? It was supposed to be the second biggest cities of the whole Bulgaria……” I wondered in the silence.
I started walking along the empty road. All I saw was emptiness, emptiness and emptiness. Have you heard that when there was absolutely no noise and no image, human brains would first calm down, but then started to invent things up! I was approaching the second phase. weird feelings started to rise from my spine and I started to see some “things” in the fields, which always turned out to be simply nothing. Would there be weird beings, such as devils or ghosts? What happened to Plovdiv? or what happened to me? After ten minutes’ walking I started to doubt if the truck which brought me here had actually existed or I simply made all this shit up.
There are three tyeps of silence, dear friends. The first type makes you tranquil and you enjoy it. The second type makes you in awe and you admire it. The third type makes you frightened and you dare not to breath, otherwise the breath will break the silence and something might dawn upon you. Correct, I was right then with the third type.
The road was high and the fields were low. How low? Because of the empty darkness I could not fathom. It looked endlessly low, so low that if I threw a stone in it, it would take a year for the stone to reach the bottom and another half a year before the sound broke through the stony dark air to reach my ears. No, I dared not to throw anything. I simply walked on and tried to ignore the noises and images my mind was uncontrollably making up.
Now I regretted that I did not try to find a hitchhiking partner, with whom I would better bear this infinitely empty circumstance, or, I could have taken a dog. Yes, someone, or something could be with me then, not to comfort me, but just to remind me that I was still in reality and calibrate my brain function.
After about 3 km the road finally got relatively even with the fields and unbelievably I spotted a house! with light in it, which turned out to be the convenience store in a gas station.
There were even people, actually more than one in it. I looked left and right, back and front and decided to walk in. The dizzling light hurt my eyes and I hated the feeling that I suddenly got into a world of such brightness that my experience in the empty darkness felt like illusion.
“Hello! This is Plovdiv?”
There were 3 guys working there, with quite tired faces and two of them were rather bald. One of them said:”Me… no English, no English.”
I pointed at the ground and asked again “Plovdiv?”
“Eh…yes, oh, no!”
“Yes or no?” I was confused.
Then the guy struggled with words and eventually came up with a speech of mainly Bulgarian language, dotted by a handful of English words, as weird as you found some pieces of chicken in your larsangna. They simply did not belong together. As I understood, he meant either “This is earth and welcome to our planet” or “I have no idea what you are talking about”.
I continued walking. It was not too difficult as there was only one road. However, as I walked out of the store, something subtle changed. I could not tell but something definitely had happened during the several minutes when I was struggling with languages. It was the air which got thinner? or the sky which got lighter? I had no idea and I simply moved my ass, and of course, feet.
If the struggle with languages had any use, then it was to recalibrate my brain. I gradually got the weird noises and images out of my brain and filled it with the happenings in the store. I saw A CAR!!! with a human being in it!!! It even stopped!!!
“Taxi?” The driver asked me.
“Eh… no, where is Plovdiv?” I asked.
“Oh, go straight!”
About half an hour later, I saw houses, traffic lights, city roads, hotels, high-up hills in the middle of the city, but simply nobody…… I wondered where everybody was taken… and started even to doubt if I made up the taxi driver or he really existed.
Something was changing again. Although I still could not figure out what, something in my animal instinct was stired up and gave me this feeling.
Finally I saw people! More than one and a place looking like a bar or restaurant, with light and probably music and food! I got in and asked for a tea. Did I mention it was cold outside? No? Oh that must have slipped my mind as I was too much carried away by the darkness and emptiness.
There were 3 waiters in the restaurant and about 4 customers. I chose a table near the fireplace and started my laptop. A total reality recalibration was needed. Map! I searched on Google Map and found out that I was dropped at about 6km away from the town of Plovdiv, on the highway leading to Plovdiv city. Obviously the city was not really alive at night (not in this cold season at least), not really dead either. It was simply ghostly.
I was too frozen to doze away, or too much awakened by the darkness and emptiness. My brain kept clear and I started to…… watch movies! The Wolf of Wall Street was it. Soon I noticed this couple in front of me, at another table. They were talking in English and the man was probably in his forties and spoke with such a strong German accent. The woman was probably in her thirties. They were having an affair. “I don’t want any of our colleagues know about this.” The man said seriously. The woman was simply listening with a calm face and did not say anything, except rubbing the man’s hand with hers.
“Sorry, sir, we are closing and you have to pay your bill now.”
Then I suddenly remembered and said:”Oh, sorry, I actually don’t have Bulgarian lev. I just crossed border from Turkey hours ago……”
He turned into a flat tyre and with tired eyes, said:”Ok, do you have Turkish lira?”
“Yes!” Thus I paid him.
Before I could finish the movie, or pack up my things, a granny started to clean the floor. I apologized and packed up as quickly as possible. Then I accidentally looked at the window. Now I could make out, something indeed did happen and was still happening — the dawn was approaching.