Tales of Croatia. Part Seven.
Continued from part six...
The next day, we slept in a bit. We had some coffee at the hotel on the terrace, then headed towards town. We stopped at a bread shop and got burek on the way, and liquid yogurt to drink with it. We had the same walk as before, beautiful views and all. There's one stretch with a little straightaway. This area has the same sidewalk but with a railing and on the other side, it's a sheer cliff. Looking straight down, you cannot see the bottom because of plants. Walking along this area, we came upon a small group of people. On the sidewalk were two ladies who were upset and seemed to be arguing or something. As we were walking by, I was looking at them wondering what was going on and in my peripheral vision I could see two more people over by the railing. Sasho, Esad and I walked up to the rail past these folks and looked over the side to see the view. Off in the distance some beautiful cliffs could be seen.
The woman by the railing said something to Sasho but we didn't understand her. I didn't look at her, I was just looking at the view. We walked off and Esad told us she'd told Sasho to get away from her. Huh? What? What's going on? We stopped and looked back and the lady was on the other side of the railing, on the side of the cliff. We turned back again towards the town and Esad said that she must be considering suicide and she was telling Sasho to stay away from her. We were maybe 10 meters away. At that point, we heard a few screams back there and looked back and the lady was gone. She'd jumped. This was all within one minute total, very fast. The police were just pulling up in a car and she must have seen them and jumped before they could stop her. We were immediately put into shock, we were sad and overwhelmed and felt guilty, somehow.
Sasho was close to her and felt like he could have stopped her if he'd known, like he could have grabbed her or something. I felt guilty for not even noticing what was going on at all or even looking at her. We debated our various feelings of grief and guilt and walked on. The woman had killed herself. The fall was long, maybe a few hundred feet of rocky shoreline. And she was dead and we didn't stop it. There was a larger group of people talking to the police as we left and there was no need for us to stick around, so we left. We wandered a bit and went down to an area outside the wall on the South side, secluded on the rocks.
We just felt bad the whole day, pretty much. And it would come up again and again over the course of the day as we could not get it out of our minds. I still cannot get it out of my mind, 6 weeks later now.
Eventually, the others painted a better picture for me. I really had not seen the lady until the end there, so didn't know details. They told me she'd been barefooted and wearing all black. I probably saw the black when we looked back that one time, but the memory of color fades and only the grief remains. So, evidently she'd been prepared to jump. Esad told me she was probably Catholic, wearing all black like that, which with the area is very likely. She looked to be in her sixties.
Our brains were putty the rest of the day. We wandered around more, went to lunch again for more fish and went to the same beach again. Watched more football at various cafes and had mostly the same kind of day again. Night fell, more fish for dinner, football, cafes and beers. Many beers.
We made our way outside the city walls when the cafes all closed around 11PM. There was a dance club there called the Latin Salsa Club or something like that. Sasho left us there to go to sleep and Esad and I went in, paying an entrance fee. The place was empty, with maybe 4 girls in there. And us. We ordered beers, drank and the girls left, only to be replaced by guys. Time passed, we drank beer, then more guys showed up. And more guys. A few girls, but 90% guys. Esad and I joked that we'd happened upon a gay club, when suddenly and finally, girls started showing up. We hung out in the dance floor room and the place slowly filled up with all sorts of folks.
Croatia had played a World Cup game earlier in the day, and people were still all decked out in red and white checkers, red and white strips all that. Giant Dr Seuss hats in this color, various football apparel, that sort of thing. People were hyper, happy, drunk and dancing.
We drank more and more and more beer. And we danced, sweaty and fast. This was the only place I went in Croatia that played modern dance music, club style. It was good fun. Eventually, we started hanging out with these two Irish girls and danced with them. We continued to drink and dance with them until eventually one of the girls and I just started kissing in the middle of the dance floor. We made out there for about 20 minutes before it was time to go. Cora, the girl, and I went off on our own and walked around to the outside of the walled city on the water, right on the rocks and we made out, kissing with the sea and an island on one side and a giant wall of stone on the other. She told me I had sad eyes and asked why I was sad. And I told her the story of the woman killing herself and I started crying and I let go. I let go and cried like a baby on the shoulder of Cora McCarthy, there in that vacation paradise.
End of part seven.