1993

Unnoticeable somewhere in the middle of the class, I follow with interest my teacher’s speech. It doesn’t sound convincing to me, so I decide to speak up. I raise my hand. The teacher calls for my name. I stand up and, dauntless, I break the silence: “Madam, the president is not the smartest person in the country. In fact, my mother outsmarts him. She could as well be the president of Romania.” The classroom is completely silent, and the teacher petrified. In the dark and cold classroom of the small Transylvanian school, I suddenly feel that something is wrong. With the expression of an exposed critic of the establishment of  the newly post-communist Romania, the teacher replies to me severely: “Never say such things again.” And so, she ends her speech. The year was 1993. I was six years old, and it was my second week in elementary school.

Later that day, the telephone rings, and my mother picks up it up. The same teacher inquires how I ended up getting such scandalous ideas. My mom is speechless. She hangs up, and repeats the teacher’s words: “Cristina, never say such things again. Promise me.” I give my word to my mom, but my mind still wonders. “Why can’t my mom be the president of Romania? All people on TV have been anonymous at a point in time, even the president. Why couldn’t we, the ordinary people, do the same? Could someone that I personally know be the president of Romania one day? Yes, I am quite sure about that.”

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