Crumbling

This is a collaboration between Elizabeth Endara (writer) and Crystal Ward (photographer).

______________________________

Across from the post office and down the street from the bus station, there’s an abandoned wine factory. It’s a crumbling building filled with trash. During the war, it was used as a sort of base for Serbian forces. The reports from those days say things like “the Serbian police opened fire from their position near the wine cellar.” The headlines present the situation as “volatile.” Only we, here in the present, know how volatile it truly was. A few steps from the wine factory is a memorial for the dozens of civilians who lived and died in this small town. Too many of them innocents, too many of them children. But the wine factory stands, itself a memorial of the past, yet it has lived to see today.

_mg_6922_16701536767_o

_mg_6845jpg_16726942383_o

_mg_6864jpg_17321227986_o

The factory now sits alone behind overgrown bushes and bent over fence posts. Tall, grey, quiet, but occasionally disturbed by pot smokers and young lovers. We were neither. It was cold and cloudy. We hopped over a cement wall, narrowly avoiding the long thorns entwined in the surrounding tree branches. It was a cold day that got colder when we walked inside, and then we were hit with it: the depth, the ghosts, the symmetry.

_mg_6829_16286651244_o

_mg_6834jpg_17346798421_o

_mg_6870_16288970583_o

_mg_6857_16907757832_o

Anything abandoned can be turned into a symbol. This wine factory became a monolith of space mostly filled with the deepest dark corners. Everything frightening lived in those corners, the monsters from our childhood and demons from our past. We avoided them by staying within the patches of light, only making mad dashes through the dark when we had to.

_mg_6847jpg_17139758597_o

_mg_6888jpg_17597347698_o

_mg_6907_16722719939_o

Dark rectangular pits stacked on top of each other became more than holes. They were the empty graves of a few people we used to be and a few more people who stopped breathing fifteen years ago. We could have sworn that we felt our past lives blowing through our hair. Or were they the ghosts of those innocents whom we never got a chance to meet? That’s the thing about symbols. They can mean anything to anyone.

_mg_6904_16721478330_o

_mg_6866_16908002351_o

_mg_6859_16721586490_o

Symmetry is something that is so goddam romantic and so utterly unachievable. But we stood there in the middle of all those angles and all that geometry and pretended for a moment that every brick in the left wall was absolutely identical to every brick in the right. These bricks became our love lives. Each one was a person who we got the chance to love and love well, and they loved us back fiercely. Every young child lived to meet his identical soul. No paint peeled off the walls because of the passing of time. No ceiling collapsed from the weight of the rainwater. No two hearts were ripped apart because of lies, fear, kisses, or death. But it was not so.

_mg_6867_16883094006_o

_mg_6881jpg_16726979143_o_mg_6880jpg_17139782927_o

_mg_6872_16721526290_o

We opened our eyes from that dream and remembered the crumbling and how things fall apart. Wars fall apart, thank god, but not before lives do. Hate falls apart, but so does love; not always or every time, but enough for it to be a true thing to say. We humans so often create a crumbling past and live in a crumbling present. And so we left the wine factory as it was: crumbling.

_mg_6869jpg_17139776457_o

_mg_6916_16907883531_o

_mg_6877_16721264158_o

_mg_6853_16721349938_o

_mg_6927_16722683929_o

_________________________________________

If you enjoyed this, check out elizabirdblogs.wordpress.com for more of her amazing writing!

_________________