For years I have been obsessed with this graffiti on the facade of the ruins of Abrašević : « Šta bi sad Kosta rekao ? », « What would Kosta say now ? ».
I am not sure what he would say, but I’m sure he would be quite pleased if he had spent the 3rd day of the Anniversary of the Center that wears his name since 90 years with us.
Under the name « Od nas prema gradu » (« From us for the city »), an audio walk in the Abrašević neighborhood was organized. You have to download 7 short stories on your phone, you are given instructions of where to go and where to stand to listen to the stories, headphones, and off you go in a neighborhood that you think you know.
The 3 fisrt locations are inside Abrašević itself, looking at the ancient wardrobe of the theater group, in the corridor that links the Bulevar to the courtyard of Abrašević (and ultimately to Šantićeva Street) and in the middle of the courtyard itself, around the foundations of what was suppose to become the ballet hall.
Our friend, Ronald Panza, an oldtimer in Abrašević before the war, has written truly beautiful texts, in an elegant and poetic language, describing the atmosphere of the Center but also, other locations of our Street.
It was indeed very surprising to realize that for more than at least 6 years, I hadn’t been further in the street than the crossroad with Carinski Bridge, 300 m away from the Center, either turning right to cross Neretva and go to the bus station, either turning left to go to Splitska Market or to visit friends in the Rondo or Stadium area.
More surprising on the last part of the walk was coming back to a group of buildings recently rebuilt and realize while I had had the curiosity to go inside when they were in ruins and empty, I hadn’t had the same curiosity once they were rebuilt and inhabited.
After a short pause in front of the former Kino Partizan (cinema hall Partizan), we came back to Abrašević and listened to the last text, back in our corridor.
Titled, « Goodbye Utopia », the text reminisces about the last days of Abrašević and how changes come without a warning. Before we closed the corridor, mostly for security reasons, I had spent a lot of time hanging around in our ruins, taking pictures of our walls, our ground. I picked up a numerous amount of items : account papers, notebooks, member cards. I always thought we would organize to pick up everything we could and take care of it as archives. We didn’t really.
Yesterday, at the begining and end of the walk, we came back to the corridor. Miran opened the wooden door that closes the building and I had a look inside for the first time in almost ten years. Looking at the floor ground, what is left of the ceiling, the walls, the red doors of the classrooms, hesitating to get in.
In my headphones, I was listening to the voice of Ronald, telling how he came to Abrašević for the last time before the war. Opened doors, empty building, no light in the corridor and how a note was left to say that there would be no music class until further notice.
Since yesterday, I look at our building in a different way, again. I fell asleep last night asking myself who were the first soldiers who entered the building ? Were they from Mostar ? Did they know about RKUD Abrašević ? Did they find the note cancelling the classes ? Who stole the bust of Kosta Abrašević ? Where is it now ?
I remembered my first time in the ruins, the silence, traces of war and music lessons. I fell like I was violating a secret place, a source of great memories for so many, of hell for others.
Finally, I fell asleep with a strong desire of hugging the whole building, not to keep it for me, just to make sure I would forever remember every detail of it.
When a day starts, you never know how it is going to end. Yesterday, I’d have never bet I was going to fall in love with this place.