The Beauty that Frightens (My city K.Mitrovica)

Author: Anesa Colakovic, Kosovo
Photos taken by Anesa Colakovic

The day started like any other. Like every single day, I follow the same old routine; get up, eat breakfast find something to wear in the closet, get dressed, and leave. No variation, no chance for change or creativity. When I come back from school and enter into my small lovely rectangular room colored with light gold color walls and dark gold ceiling. As I open the room’s door straight ahead I see two large windows with gold curtains and small red roses on them.

My bed, which is covered with a red and gold color bedspread is under the windows. On my left against the wall there is a large bookcase filled with books; most of them scientific books. Close to the door and next to the bookcase there is a desk and a chair with a small woven wastepaper basket underneath the desk. That night I sat on the couch in a hushed room with my half shut eyes, borrowing a moment to inhale serenity that seems to float in the air like a cloud of fog. I was listening to the silence, listening closely until I noticed that the silence is an absence of the apparent sound creating its own symphony. Symphony as an orchestral that is being kept alive by a careful beating of my heart and tick-tacks of the small, thin, golden wall clock tightly stuck on the vivid color of my room’s wall. I concentrated on the beats, observing that its rhythm is steadily and confidently throbbing. I desperately wanted a cup of coffee and I finally opened my eyes, and pulled myself out of this despair. My natural agility allowed me to excel, but a bypass to a cuisine seemed far away, and not ending at all. I was almost catching my every single fall. I could neither explain myself, nor understand. Anticipation filled my body, from the tip of my head to the extreme bottom of my toes. Finally, that rich aroma of the coffee filled my lungs and made me feel as I taste it already.

Peace and tranquility settled upon my soul, and I felt that everything is right while a hot black coffee is passing through me. I was absent minded for a moment or two, and I started thinking why I am feeling so cripple or so incapable of doing something. I had also the feeling of empower that I did not know what to do or how to tackle the atmosphere that was making me weaker and weaker. I had never felt so much pain. The pain that seemed like it immobilized my body. I had never felt so depressed that I really did not know where the source of depression was coming from. These were the thoughts that were passing through my mind. Sometimes many thoughts in my mind lose their connotation because there are times in my life when I feel I cannot keep going on, because I feel like the world all around me has shattered, but I have to keep holding. Elicitation of the truth can be at times; therefore, I realize that life has its ups and downs, and we all learn to deal with them in different ways.

Whenever I am troubled or confused I always plunder through my mind a walk to tuck away my despair that sometime confuses me to an extreme point, at which no progress can be done. Suddenly, all the lights went off; it was a power-cut and as I walked up to light a candle I felt even more torn apart. The candle’s flame was slowly fading, burning out and burning me. I continued to lay on the bed staring at the ceiling.Then, dragging myself from the bed I walked to the window and open the curtains. The wide open space of the landscape and a church from the Northern Mitrovica twinkled my eyes as if they were the magic of that night. The vibrancy of the city that did not exist at all seemed attractive to me. With a quick move I took a black pocket, double – breasted and belted wool trench coat opened the door of the apartment where I was living at and as always I saw my neighbor smiling softly to me. At that time, she was carefully cleaning her husband’s dark brown shoes I realized that it was late, and I was going out for a walk in that dark, smoggy night in the middle of the winter.

I tied up my boots, and while descending the stairs, I felt myself as free as a bird soaring in the sky. As I took the first and deep breath outside I could feel the frigid air engulfed my petite body, and icy wind rustled my curly hair and stung my face. The wind blows were creating such earsplitting melody like the high accords of the octave. But, I continued walking and walking on like a child without a home. While walking I was thinking of the lonely city of Mitrovica a city in the northern Kosovo, where I was born and raised. Mitrovica within its good geographic position remained a divided city, as a result of political changes. It is heartbreaking to mention how such a great and prosperous place that warms your heart and chills it could ever be split on two parts. I remember since the end of the Kosovo War 1990s, tensions rose considerably in my birthplace and since then the city has been divided between an ethnic Albanian majority south, and an ethnic Serbian majority north. What marks the border of separated parts of the Mitrovica is the muddied brown river of Ibar River. Across the river half of the complex lies in similar disrepair. It is unrealistic to think, but as I continued to walk on I found myself on the bridge center, above the river.

I was amazed at the absence of consequences, but I was there and I did not realize it at all. I have been told that both communities rarely venture to taste bitter opposition. As I looked back, in the distance, however, I could see darkness. I stepped for a moment and realized that what is a scary and frightful place is a very meaningful place to me. The place of the other half of Mitrovica, especially houses that were built haphazardly, seemed so familiar to me. They almost gave me a feeling as I am evocating the déjà vu. I was eager to an unusual degree just to see the rest of the forgotten part of the city.

Along with my overwhelming impatience I did not feel the coldness. While continuing to walk the contemporary architecture that made a good use of space reminded me of some European developed cities that I have visited. Ahead of current sight; in front of me was an old bus with hazy windows with no passengers in it except the driver. Something pulled me back, when a bus driver started staring at me, while I was passing on the green traffic light. The northern cold wind blew, shadow grew closed like a ghost silently coming and silently going. It started to snow and it looked like a majestic crystal cascades were showering down. Nature wrapped its arms around me and I felt safe and thankful. This was a calm feeling that settles over me like a blanket, just a quiet assurance telling me the winter wonderland and holiday atmosphere are still filling the old-fashioned and perfect little city. The cold air slided over my face and the snowflakes seemed almost heavy enough to crush me. I took a road to get back home and suddenly a large, muscular, strongly-built dog appeared in front of me. I could not catch my breath. Its eyes were dark, and its coat appearance had several different shades of the color fading gray with darker brown.

It seemed to be a reserved and stubborn dog, but most probably aggressive and wariness of strangers, too. I was afraid, but I held tighter to my faith, and waited for it to just pass away, as if I were not there. After, the dog had gone in the dark tunnel I took a deep breath that was left over some seconds ago. I continued walking on taking foot-steps as they were as those of an wild animal that was running to catch its prey. The continual rhythm was the tempo of my shoes ticking. At that moment, I just desperately wanted to be at home in the warmth of my bed.

Please do consider that this paper was written without any political content. It only described the old city by using the metaphors, symbolism, characters, nature, and objects.

Some elaboration from the paper written:
Line no.1: The day started like any other – Mitrovica wakes up every morning within no change.
Line no.3: Rectangular room- The room is a metaphor for a box and those who do not think out of the box.
Line no.4: Gold color walls and dark gold ceiling – Symbolism of the natural resources of gold in Mitrovica
Line no.6: A red and gold color bedspread – Red and gold color are for blood and gold
Line no.7: Books – Represent lots of reports, documents, and plans done for the Mitrovica situation
Line no.9: In a hushed room – No initiative for speaking out from the box
Line no.11, 12, and 13: The silence is an absence of the apparent sound creating its own symphony. Symphony as an orchestral that is being kept alive by a careful beating of my heart and tick-tacks of the small, thin, golden wall clock tightly stuck on the vivid color of my room’s wall. – Altogether people within the box are silent and prey of gold undertaking no actions. Metaphorically, portraying an orchestral where only the heart beating are heard.
Line no.15: My natural agility allowed me to excel, but a bypass to a cuisine seemed far away, and not ending at all – Even though, my lively nature is not enough to do something for the city of Mitrovica since I am alone and the road to a non-conflict and peaceful city seems so far.
Line no. 25: The pain that seemed like it immobilized my body – The split of Mitrovica on two parts marks a pain and; thus, makes impossible the free movement of the people.
Line no.30: Elicitation of the truth can be at times; therefore, I realize that life has its ups and downs – Collection of the truth is hardly ever disposed. Life and same Mitrovica has its upper part and lower part of the city known as north and south.
Line no. 33: Suddenly, the lights went off – A very often case of the power-cut, but also metaphorically the description of the abandoned city living in the dark.
Line no. 40: My neighbor smiling softly to me – People in Mitrovica are smiley faces even though, conflicts are apparent all the time.
Line no. 41: She was carefully cleaning her husband’s dark brown shoes – The word “carefully” is many times mentioned throughout the writing because it means that people are careful what they say about the situation. Also “dark” colors and “the night” are portraying the adversity of the hypocrisy and the boldness of rescuing a forgotten city in the shadows. Cleaning the shoes is a natural phenomenon in Kosovo, especially Mitrovica since lots of dust is present.
Line no.47: Like a child without a home – People in Mitrovica are refugees in their own hometown.
Line no.47: Lonely city of Mitrovica – No government, no legal entity takes care of the Mitrovica