Sometimes, people are like snowflakes.
You walk through a city, through crowded streets, rubbing up against people, constant skin on skin, sleeve on sleeve, and you never feel so distant, so alone.
All those people merge together and turn into one blinding homogeneous pile of slush. But individually they can be breathtakingly beautiful.
“Sretna nova godina!” we said to Gordana, the cashier at the Konzum. “Happy new year!”
Our local Konzum is very small, just the basics, and is staffed by 3 tireless women who seem to always be there all the time – Gordana, Svetlana and Ema.
“Thank you,” Gordana said. “And to you. Did you have a good celebration?” But we didn’t understand her, so she had to repeat it in English. She does this sometimes, comes out with unexpectedly good English while we gape at her, our stupid mono-lingual mouths hanging open.
“We did, we did!” we said, and thanking her we left with our 4 litres of beer.
Earlier in the day we’d gone to McDonald’s – don’t judge, sometimes it’s necessary – and C asked in grammatically perfect Croatian for “2 cheeseburgers without meat”. I asked for a plain hamburger.
The cashier smiled at us. “Also without meat?” she asked, without skipping a beat.
Often in the swirling heaving sweaty grunting mass of city life, you can find snowflakes.