“Fuck. Sorry,” I said, as I hurriedly reinserted the old posters back inside the lid of the piano.
The guy in the suit didn’t look impressed. He just stared at us angrily, seemingly occupying the whole hallway and speaking quite loudly in Bosnian something we couldn’t possibly understand. But we understood precisely what he meant. We had been warned not to piss off the Bosnians, and we somehow managed to do just that. We drunkenly half-jogged outside into the sobering blackness and peered back through the large doorway to see him stuff the rest of the posters back into the piano. Silently only because of the distance now between us. What a waste of an instrument. And for a jazz club too? One thing’s for sure: there’s no way we’re getting back in now.
The German guy I was with, unfortunately the only life on the street, besides myself and a few stray dogs, stared blankly into the bitter air, swaying a little. Our long breaths producing quickly vanishing white clouds. We didn’t really know each other that well. Or…at all, actually. But wound up together after a long series of random events. Earlier a Serbian girl at the hostel asked if a Chinese guy and I wanted to join her and her friends from an international school blah blah something or blah into the city. Cool, we thought. In an hour we were mixed with about twenty people. The Chinese guy disappeared quicker than our breaths in the air. She left to smoke a joint never came back, and then two Germans and I were left drinking up ridiculously cheap pints along with Mr Kosovo trying to make sense of obscure jazz music.
Mr Kosovo, though. His small, fat body somehow mimicked his circular face, and his round glasses appeared recessed into his eyes. His entire appearance was a small collection of circles. Ze German and I waited outside for him and walked together in the cold night. He explained a lot to us about his country. Only five countries without a visa. He shook his head. He even needed a visa to come here, of all places. And as ze German announced some mumbles to the world, the traffic still rumbling around the centre masked our voices temporarily.
Food signs ahead. Target locked.
Let’s see… pastry with jam, jam, red jam, dark red jam. With onion and meat. Pastry with onion and meat again, different shape. Pastry with meat. Pastry with onion. Right. Pastry. It has to be pastry. Just a minute fuck don’t pressure me fuck I’m trying ehrm… So do I want jam pastry or meat pastry? What’s that fresh out the oven?…more meat pastry? Fuck.
Do you speak English?
Jeez I’m gonna get so fat here.
My head. I can’t move it. Can’t. Mustn’t.
The black and brown blob in front materialised into a name etched on the bottom of the bunk bed above. Am I the only one in this dorm? Everyone is obviously less hungover than me. Was I really the last one back last night? I can’t remember. Muslim prayer calls begin echoing across the city, quietly.
A few minutes later, the church bells ring twelve.
What is Sarajevo anyway?
I’m going to find out.