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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 26 | volume V | May-June, 2002



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 26May-June, 2002

The Same

p. 1
Jadranka Vladova

    My father takes a long time to climb the two steps. He hooks the handle of his cane on his pocket, gropes for the door frame with his right hand and, hunched over and panting, enters the kitchen. He cautiously sits in his chair and with a sigh proclaims that we have a turtle.
    My mother raises her eyes, reddened from her chopping onions, and they sharply scold him through a film of tears.
    I recognize what’s happening: he has mentioned nuns in brown habits with bluish-violet halos around their heads; the monastery for whose construction my grandfather collected a thousand gold coins; the water that gurgles just under the bedroom; unknown people with bloated faces who stand in the garden and stare at our windows when the moon is full; the pictures one can enter (even more easily than mirrors!) just by stepping high into the frame; travels that require only the bluish cold darkness behind closed eyelids…
    But my father’s fabrications have never included a reference to animals.
    Yes, there were winged horses for the angels in his visions of healing… And, yes! Once, returning from the street (with a thick sweater over his striped pajamas) he said that exactly ten donkeys were waiting for their tailor. But this was all (still) at the beginning of his illness, and we took it as a very successful joke at the expense of Uncle Risto – the saddler.
    So now I ask:
    “What turtle?”
    “Very pink,” he says and calmly inhales the smoke of the freshly lit cigarette.
    Without a word, in resignation my mother wipes her tears with the wrist of her right arm, and I steal a glance at my father’s wrinkled, bewildered face, whose expression prompts my second question:
    “Where did you see it?”
    “In the yard,” he says with that uncertain tone in his voice that so often has hinted at the nesting places for the wonders similar to the ones found in the books I like. I often draw the wrong conclusions, but at once the thought occurs to me that my father is just getting warmed up. I return to my book, thinking the appearance of a turtle in our yard, unusual as it might be, is not a miracle great enough for me to put up with all of my father’s asides and repetitive digressions. He will not miss the chance of mentioning the old monastery, and then my mother will raise her

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