On Doamnei Street, opposite the National Bank, on a corner, is an imposing building where the Biblioteca Centrală de Stat (Central State Library) used to be. I spent much of my time there as a student. BCS was like a temple where we went to meet ourselves and the great minds of the world. I went there every day, often from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening, and on Sundays only until 2 pm (that was the schedule then).

I couldn’t find books in bookstores. I remember the joy I had when someone lent me “The Most Beloved of Earthlings”, provided I finish all the volumes in a week. It wasn’t very hard for me. I slept only 3-4 hours, I loved the smell of old books, I spent a lot of time in the antique shop, looking for various authors that I wanted to discover. Back then it seemed impious to me not to have or not to tend to read the great books of the world. When I entered the language school, I had already read important French writers from the Middle Ages to the middle of the 20th century.

Of course, we didn’t have many options, we didn’t have Youtube, social media, we didn’t run after being fashionable, putting on fake eyelashes, fake nails, having the latest pair of sneakers. But we did sports, we were interested in having beautiful, decent clothes, jeans, to be ‘different’, as all the young people in the world want.

The novels kept us awake, we read poetry, theater, we were preoccupied with furnishing our minds with the best works.

If I miss anything now, it is that state of detachment, delight, amazement, ‘intellectual orgasm’, which I found daily in the interaction with the pages of a book. Meetings are rarer, days are poorer, somehow.

Now, in the pursuit of everything and nothing, at the same time, I lost what was most precious then: the encounter with the enlightened minds of mankind, the moments of inspiration and the cathartic joy of reading.