I am walking back to Silva’s apartment where I am staying. I am startled by a booming sound. I think nothing of it since, from my frame of experience, such sounds are innocuous. But an older man ahead of me starts talking and gesticulating in an agitated manner. When he realizes that I don’t speak Croation he mimes a rocket soaring, then descending, then exploding. From his frame of experience, this is a familiar and distressing sound. And it is true; the city is being shelled. The airport has been closed. The television is filled with images of tanks and military personnel but I have no idea what is actually happening.
Alan has been deaf since birth. For those of us who do not speak sign language he communicates through note writing and mime. Alan updates us on the state of his marriage by pointing at his ring finger and then making a motion like a baseball umpire calling a runner safe at home. Things are not so safe at home.
As the airport is closed I must take a bus to Graz in order to fly home. Before leaving I return her camera. She gives me a book of photographs of Croatia.