When the twenty-five-year-old you moves from Belgrade to Prague at the end of the 20th century, you depend on the kindness of friends to find a place to live and a place to earn a living. Your circle of acquaintances spreads quickly, and, contrary to what you naively expected, almost none of them are born Prague folks. Most are not even Czech. Most are fellow Yugoslav immigrants, or they are various transients from North America, Australia, and Western and Eastern Europe. (It will turn out that you and many other Yugo immigrants will also be just transients, but you don’t know that quite yet. As we’ve established, you’re naive.)
Sixteen years later, your sleeping brain films an absurdist feature of you going to the Adriatic seaside for a reunion with everyone you even vaguely knew in Prague. There’s a street of crumbling apartment buildings, and in their midst a brand new luxury hotel: a cross between something you’ve seen in pictures of Dubai and a state of the arts sports facility on a US campus. Of course you take a shower there in a public bath. Wet and soapy, naked bodies everywhere. Afterward, you get dressed up (you still have the dark green-silk crochet top you had back in Prague), and you go to a party. You’re one of the first ones to arrive. It’s a large house mostly empty of furniture, but full of all kinds of lenses: magnifying glasses, telescopes, glass devices that create trippy concave and convex images, and still cameras from all eras.
When you wake up, you do a quick comparison. The one life-dream overlap? The presence of a being called Dragana Jurisic.