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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 09 | volume II | June-July, 1999



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 09June-July, 1999
Prose

When Umbrellas Were Discovered in Skopje

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p. 1
Ermis Lafazanovski

    The disease. A disease that is not discussed, disclosed, or discovered on time, and when it is, it is too late. It appears without pain, it comes quietly and insidiously, but it destroys and sows misery twice as much as can be imagined; it comes from without, multiplied and mutated, and its aim is to combine its constituent parts into one – in the center of the body. It first attacks the toes and fingers, then the hair, which whitens before the eyes, enters through the mouth and nose, through the eyes and through any skin not covered with clothing and, very slowly, like a thief, starts to burrow into the body, and a person does not sense that anything is happening: in the blink of an eye – as the saying goes. Its numerous parts, as if bearing a message, meet in a person's soul and become one; one that neither aches nor burns, nor does it move out of place, but the man who carries such a disease remains a victim for ever: cursed until the end.

* * *

    It was a day for bathing and the parting of hair on the side, a day for changing clothes, for shaving, for counting up the toddlers, for inhaling incense, for holding teary eyes against those of the Holy Mother, a day for the chiming of bells, a day about the time when the photograph was invented in the wide world, a day when – thank you God for giving him that name – Trendafil ahead, his two children and one wife behind, marched off to be photographed for the first time in their lives, cheerful but still confused, calm but still weary.
    They clung one to another – his wife and the small children – so as not to become lost in the city bustle nor lose sight of him, who rushed several steps before them, all dressed up in fresh village attire as if for a festival, making room with his elbows among the vendors, customers and loiterers, among djamalaries and janissaries, Arabs and chestnut-roasters, the hodjas and the imams, the thieves and the trouble-makers, and he had neither shame nor subtlety in his shoving.
    By them passed the windows of the kodjabashi and the makers of sweets, the glitter of the goldsmiths' golden teeth and the dark looks of the thieves hidden in even darker lanes; by them passed the






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