-Nothing is complicated, Dusan says. Nothing except that thing about rocket in space, I tell you about this, yes?
-Yes, I say. Why does it continue to move away from the earth once the fire stops, when there's no atmosphere and thus nothing to contribute to propulsion.
-Only this is complicated. Everything else is easy once you change approach.
-I would add one thing that's complicated.
He gets up from the bench and starts pacing back and forth. We're in our normal spot, outside of his room in the dark, flicking cigarettes into the outline of palm trees and mountains. When we're both in Mulo and both know the other is there, we sit outside for an hour or two talking about questions that seem important, but are mostly important because they give us both a break from the things we see and can do so little about.
-This, I know nothing about. He continues. Absolutely, bloody nothing! He laughs. My question is, what is difference between love at first seeing, yes? And love that builds from knowing person more and more?
He's looking at me through the dark very seriously, it's not a question I expected from him.
-Well, I don't know. I know less than you do about love.
-Please, tell me. I need someone else to talk for while. I talk too much, please tell me your thinking.
-Okay. I think that love at first sight is kind of like walking into a fire; it eats you up immediately, it's completely consuming and once it passes it leaves behind just a pile of ashes. But it can't last, because you can only las so long in a fire like that. The other kind of love, gradual love, is like walking on warm stones and the warmth moves up from the bottom of your feet until it has warmed your whole body. And that's much more sustainable love. I hesitate. But I really don't know.
-Ooof. Oof! This is interesting. Now I am thinking. I never talk about this with anyone; now I am thinking, really.
He's quite for a moment staring intently at the cement.
-This first love, love at first sight, this is something nothing can touch, he says suddenly. It is non-comparable! Do you know smoking marijuana? Oof, it's been a long time, but love is like this. When you smoke this and you feel this vibrating in your legs and you don't even know if you can walk because of this.
We both laugh.
-Do you think the first love is better than the other kind? I ask.
-Yes. Yes, I think this.
He starts pacing again, still staring at the ground.
-Do you think it can last?
-Yes. Yes, always. Love never does not last. If you love someone, you always love someone. Maybe you have added emotions to them, but love is still there. My first love, yes? I was just a boy, but I was so in love I would do anything! I mean anything. I would fight anyone who says, they love their girlfriend as much as I love mine. He laughs again. But then, I screw it up. Big time. I spoil everything that can spoil and then some. Completely, completely on me. I spoil everything. Getting some girls pregnant and this and that. I mean completely spoil everything. She is important person in Croatia now, so recently, maybe year and a half ago, this is after twenty years, I look her up. I find her e-mail easily, and I send her happy birthday on her birthday. I still remember her birthday, of course. I still remember her phone number in Greece from twenty years ago! After a few weeks she writes me back, because she doesn't check that address often. She tells me about her husband and her family, and she says something about he is opening her eyes, this husband she is having. And I am finished!
He makes the sound of a rocket taking off.
-Furious! Someone else? Opens your eyes? Not me? And this is after twenty years!
-So you still love her?
-Yes... Well? I don't know if this is love.
-Love plus some?
-Yes. Maybe. No, I don't know.
I can tell he's scared to admit he still feels that shaking in his legs when he thinks of her. The shaking that's incredible and devastating at the same time. It's refreshing to see him like this, laughing and talking about love rather than all the horrible things he sees.
-I don't know, he says. I never think about this or speak of this with other person. I am, getting, images you know? Images, but I have to analyze these and put them in order to see the movie.
He chuckles randomly to himself as he crosses the small width of his pacing. I sit quietly on a little bench and watch him.
-This is mystery! He says finally. Nothing is mystery; but this is mystery.