It’s been more than a week since it happened. I do my thing – I go to lectures and seminars, I apply to jobs, I meet friends, I plan trips, and, very often, I stop and wonder and I can’t make any sense of it, hard as I try.
I was lucky. When it happened, I was in a club in the Old Town, celebrating a friend’s leave to Dubai for a new job. We were all more or less happy, but surely trying to make the most of the night when phones started buzzing all around us. A friend asked me on the Facebook chat where I was and told me there had been a fire at Colectiv. I immediately texted the most important person to me and other people I thought might have been there. None was. I felt relieved, thinking it’s a fire like others I had seen and the authorities would make sure everyone was safe and well taken care of.
On my way home, everything was off. A taxi driver asked me 50 lei for a 10 lei trip. Someone got robbed right next to me. My phone battery was gone, it took me an hour to find a cab and I had to pay double. When I finally got home, my mom almost started crying when she saw me and hugged me.
I began to catch a glimpse of what had happened when I charged my phone and started scrolling on Facebook. It didn’t feel real. I just prayed and went to bed, hoping everything will somehow be all right. It wasn’t. News went from bad to worse. A close friend lost three friends, and others were badly injured. I don’t think I know more than ten people who don’t know someone who was in the club that night.
It’s been more than a week. The Prime Minister resigned. There has been immense solidarity both online and offline, and most people are doing their best to help those who need it most. There is a protest every night at Piata Universitatii and a mountain of candles burns in front of Colectiv.
I keep watching this video and still, I can’t make much sense of what happened. I can’t understand how it happened, why, how come so many people are not here anymore to do everything and so much more of what they had been doing all their lives. It’s not right. And whoever pays for it and whatever wrong is made right, nothing will ever be like it used to. Because they are not here anymore. They are gone or injured so bad, they’ll never be able to go back to the lives they used to have.
Yes, clubs are places where people get drunk, fuck around, lose themselves and show their less pretty selves. But clubs are also places where people forget about the suffocating daily routine, where they dance and feel nothing but the music in their diaphragms. Clubs are places where you go with friends to the concerts of your favourite bands, and you stay in the front row, and you sing the same words with everyone in the room, at the same time, and for a bit, everything makes sense – completely, profoundly, collective.
Clubs aren’t places you go to burn to your death. They shouldn’t be. No building or place on Earth should be.
I wish this hadn’t happened. I wish no one was in so much pain. I wish everyone could have lived their lives the way they deserved to, the way any human being deserves to. This is beyond unfair, beyond not right, and no potential glory or newly achieved normality for this country could ever make up for. This just doesn’t make any sense. Death does not make any sense. Not like this.