While stuffing courgettes, she remembers how she left him. She left him. She didn’t just leave him. She told him to fuck off. At that tram stop in Marijin Dvor. On Friday, at half nine in the evening.
Now she’s stuffing the courgettes. She has had to go half way across the city, half way across fucking Las Vegas to find courgettes for stuffing, sour cream and minced meat. She’ll stuff the courgettes for dinner. Eso and Sajma are coming over. They are from Buzim. She has no idea where Buzim is. Nor do they know where Marijin Dvor, in Sarajevo, is. But it’s not all that important. Now, they are friends. Countrymen. Here in Las Vegas.
They’ll have stuffed courgettes for dinner and watch the Oscars. The four of them. In the morning, they leave for work together. At the Casino. The two men maintain the slot-machines, she’s behind the bar, and Sajma is in the kitchen.
Six months after she’d told him to fuck off, she met Braco. And six months after that, the war broke out.
The night she left him, a full moon hung over Sarajevo. She shouted at him how sick and tired she was that he kept chopping and changing degree courses. How she wanted to know what he planned to do with his life. She shouted. He was silent. And remained standing at the tram stop in Marijin Dvor.
Today she also bought a pair of 300-dollar shoes. All the stash she had she spent on those shoes. A pointy pair with thin high heels. The shoes she’s got nowhere to wear. The shoes for the Oscars. She knows she has to have the chichiest shoes for the Oscars.
She thought of him from time to time. She always remembered the image of him being fucked over at the tram stop in Marijin Dvor. Never and in no way differently. The way he’s just staring. She thinks his eyes are full of tears. Or maybe not. She’s not sure. Because the tram pulls away. And he lowers his head. It doesn’t matter anyway, does it? She told a loser to fuck off.
She has no idea how to put it all to Braco. In a way, she’s got nothing to explain to him. She’s got some new shoes worth $300. And even if she cries a little, so what? And why should Eso and Sajma care anyway that she’s sitting there wearing high heels? None of the three of them will know that she’d told him to fuck off. At the tram stop.
So, let them look at her. All three of them. Stuff ‘em, both them and the courgettes. She’ll be wearing her new shoes tonight. While eating stuffed courgettes. In a 70 square-metre bungalow. In Las Vegas. The Oscars will be live on TV. He’ll step out of the limo. He’ll grin at the journalists. And will look as sad as that night when she left him. Only somewhat happier. And he won’t gaze after her. In that sad and fucked over way. She’ll weep. A little. And will glance at her shoes a little, imagining whether those high heels would sink into the red carpet on which he’s now standing. A bit later, when he goes to get his Oscar, and when he thanks all those who’ve been by his side all these years, who’ve supported and loved him, she’ll be desperately trying to remember. To remember why she left him. That night at the tram stop in Marijin Dvor in Sarajevo.
Trans. Damir Arsenijević