In Sofia with Danila Stoyanova

The reason why communism fell is not what historians say. The commotion was overturned because it was sad.

In Sofia with Danila Stoyanova

Manuel Vilas / A few days ago I was in Sofia, as soon as I arrived at the airport I thought of Bob Dylan. It always comes to my mind when I travel to places I do not know, will he have performed in this city or not. I stayed looking at the villas, the apartments. I felt Bulgarian, as I usually do. Son and grandson of the Bulgarians. I imagined myself living in one of those houses while being escorted to the hotel. He did not live badly. Two rooms, large living room, kitchen and a toilet. Full of light. Given my age, the house was given to me by the state. Soviet era dancing in urbanism.

The reason for the fall of communism is not what historians say. Communism was overthrown because it was sad. Now that sadness has turned into nostalgia. Of course if you are faced with a choice, to die of hunger or sadness, you will choose not to starve. Because if there is anything sadder than sadness itself, it is hunger. If I knew how to write sonnets, I would dedicate it to a Vitosha mountain, which leads the city with its elegance and sweetness, as if it were an angel.

I ask everywhere about the names of Bulgarian writers. Why aren't they translated into Spanish? I definitely try to learn Bulgarian words. I make sure Jesus Christ is present in all the churches I visit. He is Elvis Presley of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. I visit the amazing orthodox church in Boyana, look at the portraits of Tsar Constantine I and his wife, Irina. I take time to look at you. Tsar has a kind smile that I can not believe.

A friend of mine donates me a book by the Bulgarian poet Danila Stoyanova, A publication by Diliana Ivanova in collaboration with Juan Antonio Bernier, translated into Spanish. On the cover of the book is Danila's almost teenage face. He is wearing a black shirt and a smile in this photo. She died at the age of 23 from leukemia. Born in Sofia in 1961 and left this world for Paris in 1984. Lived a year less than James Dean.

They did an interview for me on a TV channel. A Bulgarian journalist asks me about Covid's situation in Spain, why the figures are so alarming. Two answers come to mind: a) Spain, like Israel, is a people chosen by God or the Antichrist, as if it were chosen by a supernatural force, b) The virus has fallen in love with the Spaniards. However, my answer was this: we are progressing in the right way and we will defeat the virus without leaving anyone behind.

The Bulgarian translator of my works tells me that she does not know when she will be able to come to Spain again. I told him soon. I hold Danila Stoyanova's poems in my hand and my eye catches a verse ¨I can not bear to see your hands on the ice¨.

Manuel Vilas is a Spanish writer, winner of several awards.

* The article was translated into Albanian by Albana Murra for