By Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

The UnReal in Real

I noticed her when she took her first steps. She saw a strange object on the floor and crawled up close. It was a teddy bear. It was the first object with two hands and two feet, one mouth and two ears that she recognized as a being. It looked like her, like her mom and grandma, and she wanted to know what it was like and what it was doing on the floor. It was her first acquaintance with the world. The teddy bear emitted a “buuu” when she turned it on its back. It frightened Julie, and she started crying.

Fear. The first emotion she experienced from interaction with the world was fear. She simply assumed that the world was not a safe place. Later, fear would guide her in many different aspects of her life. A naïve toy like a teddy bear became the start of a journey where fear was a part of something bigger – bigger than the teddy bear, bigger than herself.

I have known Julie all my life. I know what she is like, how she feels and what it means to be Julie. I know it because…. Pardon me, I am the self of Julie. I have been with her since she was a child.

Julie will cry in her bed when no one watches her. She will pretend she doesn’t notice your rude attitude, but her tongue will freeze in her mouth when you are disrespectful to her. Julie will not say anything. Her body will shrink, and she will become a tiny little girl if you upset her. Mentally she will disappear and…. Yes, she will start killing herself bit by bit.

I remember one day she was playing with the other children in the yard. Julie wanted to be with them. She wanted to be one of them. But she was separate. She did not feel part of the group. The other children knew that, and they treated her specially. They gave her specially bad or specially good treatment.

Julie enjoyed the feeling of being special, but being special comes with a lot of hardship. Most often you are alone. You are not like others, and other people will try to prove that you are worse than them. Julie was used to that, but it hurt. She enjoyed being separate and being special and at the same time she suffered.

This is how it continued until the day when she met me, her self.

“Julie, you should be strong,” I kept on saying. She listened to that and made herself determined to overcome all emotional barriers. But her body kept on shrinking every time she saw a violent face or brutal treatment. She became small.

And one day she decided to move away from her family and house and settle in another place. That was a courageous decision, and she knew she was right. She left everything – her job, her place, her family and wanted to start over from scratch. She began teaching English to kids and adults in her new house and earned money for living by teaching in the capital of one of the smallest countries in the Caucasus Region – Armenia. People here were friendly, but they lived in their separate boxes. They could be nice to you but not more than that. Her problems were her problems.

At night she would think of little demons that would visit her here and there. She was idle most of the time and kept on reading different books. The demons became bigger and bigger. They started visiting her more often and even during the day. Sometimes she would shout at them and tell them to go to hell. Things were not right anymore.

The signs of depression were already there. She thought she was being watched and that made her mad. The person who was watching her was someone she did not know. She decided to go to neighboring Georgia to meet that person. Things were not right anymore.

When she was traveling on the train, the people in her carriage knew she was not healthy. The only thing she was doing was reading the Bible. When they asked where she was going, she said she did not know.

But she did not reach Georgia. They found out that she did not have an external foreign visa that you need when you cross the border of Armenia. She stepped off the train on the border somewhere near Georgia and went to the church in the little town of Spitak. She met the priest there. He arranged so that she could stay with a family that lived in a train carriage. They had a daughter that she liked very much and spent time with. She was disabled and the most courageous person she had ever seen.

Soon she was back at her mom’s house and ended up in a place where she was supposed to be – in a mental hospital. They gave her pills, and that made her a little bit peaceful. She was grateful for the treatment and did as they told her.

Years passed, she had phases of depression and phases of health. And this is where she met me – her self again. She called me Nare – someone she adored and wanted to be like. Nare became her second “me” and she started a new life where Nare was the queen.

(To be continued…)

In the Middle – An International Transposition (Fiction)

Introduction to In the Middle – An International Transposition, edited by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey

January: Forgetting – Turkey, by Seyit Ali Dastan

February: The Unreal in Real – Armenia, by Armine Asyran

March: Catching Water – Argentina, by Javier Gómez

April: Unwanted – South Africa, by Sarah Leah Pimentel

May: House with a Stucco Ship – Ukraine, by Gennady Bondarenko

June: A Girl Pedaling up the Road of Life – Cuba, by Marilin Guerrero Casas

July: The Last Day – Poland, by Pawel Awdejuk

August: Through my Hands – Venezuela, by Veronica Cordido

September: Amelia’s Euphemism – Spain, by Jonay Quintero Hernández

October: Until Love Do Us Part – Uruguay, by Alejandra Baccino

November: A Journey to the Edge – Lebanon, by Rayan Harake

December: I Used to Smoke – Russia, by Kate Korneeva

Background – Context

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

More work by Nane Sevunts (Armine Asyran)

From Uncertainty to Newness – transposing emblem by Nane Sevunts

An Era to Close – short story by Nane Sevunts

Emblems and stories on Armenia

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from Armenia and other countries


Cover photo of Yerevan, Armenia by Levon Vardanyan (Unsplash)

Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.