When we were young and shared a bedroom I can remember floating off to sleep with the endings of conversations drifting through my head. We were probably 15 or 16. We talked about everything. I knew it was special even at the time. We were navigating our way into the world of adukthood - politics, girls, philosophy, ideas. What a privelege that was to have your best friend in the same room. And then it all stopped. That's what Mick told me over a Croation mixed grill last night. 'I lost you for a few years then' he said. And i realised that I (a year ahead of him) had just disappeared. Even though we still shared that room, I spent all my time at my girlfriend's house or at Uni with my new friends. I had discovered the world beyond the bedroom and our catholic boys school a year ahead of him and was captured by it.
So here we were, nearly fifty years later, sharing a beer in a strange city, surrounded bt a history neither of us understood, exploring our own history. It felt like that bedroom conversation was knocking at the door, looking to find its place again.
And Zagreb? It feels like its gentle charm has allowed space for us to connect. Its hard to believe that this peaceful place where the main square is still the centre of community life was embroiled in a sectarian war as recently as the 90s which saw Orthodox Christians fighting Catholics fighting Muslims, and where centuries old family feuds were settled. Even though Zabreb escaped much of that chaos there's a sense that the current generation are still not sure how it all happened and perhaps wonder if it could all happen again in another twenty years. History threatens to constantly repeat itself.
Croatia, I wish you well.