If You Can't Walk, Try Flying


Author: Marinela Drop
Title: If You Can't Walk, Try Flying. A Memoir
Translator: Mihaela Burda
ISBN 978-606-049-611-3
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    I stepped into this world when the sun was rising on a serene Sunday at the end of the winter, in Bucharest. Perhaps my whole life, beginning on that day at the threshold of the seasons, was meant to be a holy celebration. It hasn't quite been like that, as many moments of that day, the 27th of February 1972, were far from untroubled. It must have clouded over towards noon or evening, who can say. Later on, as I began to understand the world around me and ask questions, I was told of the blinding light that filled the maternity ward where I was born, and reached my mother's heart.

    I was a happy-go-lucky child, just like any other. Many of you would say that not all children are blessed with a happy beginning in life—and rightfully so! What I’m saying is that no matter how hard a child’s life might get, in their own little bubble they are bound to always be happy because over there everything is beautiful. Everything is untainted and everything is possible. This is why you will never hear me saying that I had a miserable childhood, although from the outside my first years of climbing the ladder of life might well look like a struggle. Indeed, from the outside, my brother and I were often looked upon with pity—the kind that weighs on you, judges you, and simultaneously smudges and washes you clean. Oh, I have never accepted anyone’s pity—a stranger’s pity, I mean. I welcomed my mother’s compassion because coming from her it was filled with love. It meant protection and tenderness. It meant warmth from the depth of her heart. Other people’s pity starts as unwanted attention and can become altogether nasty at times …

    My brother Marius—one year, one month and one day my junior—and I grew up like Siamese twins, always entwined. We used to play together or on our own, but always in one another’s proximity, each of us with our toys. We had a few dear friends as well, neighbours from our block of flats who would visit and play with us. And, of course, Mihai and Flory, our siblings, were always around us. Mihai, my mother’s son from her first marriage, was more of a spiritual support, as we never lived together. He was brought up by grandma Stefania, my mother’s mother, in her house.

    We sort of grasped that we were different due to the intrusive questions of the people in the neighbourhood who kept pestering our parents with questions about our inability to walk. I could hear my folks answering anything in between “this is how they were born” or “it’s from the anti-polio vaccine” or “we don’t know for sure.” When we were little, it was not us asking the questions—what did we know?! Or, to put it differently, we were not able to tell better, our world at that time did not exactly claim its right to be different. We used to crawl through the room, or we would use our potties to move around; we had developed a special technique that we now call “adaptation.” We used balance, leaning on one side, as we were pushing forward with the whole strength of our bodies. We were really having fun, but grandma would watch us and shake her head in sadness, as sometimes we could hear her whispering grudgingly: “All this because of him …”

    Why would grandma say that?

    ...Read the book to find outand also to discover many life secrets!

    The Author Introduces Herself:

    I was born in February 1972, in Bucharest, Romania. Like any ordinary child, I played and laughed—I just couldn't walk. Both my brother and I were diagnosed with a congenital degenerative neuromuscular disease that could not be treated. We were home-schooled, with support from classmates and teachers who came from time to time to test us. I was in love with Romanian and English language and literature, I listened to lots of music, I read and wrote.

    I have always been a self-taught person, thoroughly studying what I enjoyed and wanted to have for keeps!

    I later became the Fan Club president of one of Romania's leading singers. My world began to open up and I began to use the talents I thus found out I had.

    In 2008 I chose to live in another country, and during the COVID-19 pandemic period, I wrote this book.

    "If You Can't Walk, Try Flying" is a book about my life in Romania, dedicated to those who wake up in the morning without hope, without the willpower to try harder and enjoy what life has to offer!

    Learn to grow wings—each of us is born to fly!