Aušra Barzdukaitė-Vaitkūnienė, 2007 09 07

A.Vaitkūnas. Neighbour Tamas. Drawing from a notebook. 2003. Paper, pencil.

A.Vaitkūnas. Smell of Life. Drawing from a notebook. 2003. Paper, pencil.

A.Vaitkūnas. Smell of Life. Drawing from a notebook. 1986. Paper, pencil.

“Such is the smell of life,” said Arūnas in Tbilisi when he entered the Home of Future (Tbilisi Children’s Home) on May 14, 2005. This was what I was told by Karolina Jakaitė and Eglė-Ganda Bogdanienė who went to the international symposium along with him.


Arūnas knew life and felt all nuances well. Still, when it was necessary to manage some domestic or bureaucratic issues, he stated that he had no experience for this. He rejoiced for the fact that we were together: “Two people are better than one. Let’s discuss, discuss and we’ll do it.”


“Art is not life,” Arūnas said a toast in Georgia. The phrase is from the story of Karolina again.


Such is the smell of life today, on Sunday, July 8, 2007 in the wooden church of Marcinkonys during the mass.


Old men from southern Lithuania are sitting in front of me and behind – I sat down in the men’s side of the church because of some reason. They are dressed in black, brown and striped suites which smell of naphthalene and which will most probably serve as their shroud. They greet each other during the Sunday mass, they intend to listen to the sermon of the priest; however, they drank a glass of home-made vodka in secret before leaving home, and the smell of it may not be disguised now in the damp church.


“Such is the smell of life”. Sorrow clenches the throat. I feel Arūnas standing on the left during the mass – he is smiling and nodding at me. I know this smile: “That’s it, oms*.”


He also waves by the forefinger at me: “Stop flapping, squirrel*.”


I am smiling as well, and we all wish each other peace while the summer rain is falling in buckets outside.




*) This is how the author was called by Arūnas at home and in family.

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