Excerpt from the novel “Sleep my little one, sleep”

/, Literature, Blesok no. 148/Excerpt from the novel “Sleep my little one, sleep”

Excerpt from the novel “Sleep my little one, sleep”

“It’s a sea dog, a sea dog?!” I screamed from afar.

“It’s not, Nena, it’s not, it’s gilt-head bream and chub mackerel[3].”

My father was sitting on the boat under the awning smoking a pipe.

“In the meantime, let’s find some more fish,” he said, and with some kind of stick, he was crushing the tobacco in his pipe. “Mom is going to make stew, huh, Tanya?” he said.

The smoke from his pipe wafted between his fingers and his chin, his dark hair sticking out in all directions, dry from the seawater. I made a face.

“It’s the ugly one? Ugly, ugly, ugly!”

And again, I climbed the wall and jumped from it into the sea. When lunch was ready, we children ate first. It was my sister and me, and two boys, Matej Valencic, who was my age, and Grega Valencic, who was sixteen. Their father, Vojko Valencic, was my father’s best friend. My father was shorter than him by a whole head. He was small and thin, and he talked all the time. His favorite subject was fish and fishing. Tea, the mother of Matej and Grega, also had a dark complexion like my mother, and they both cooked in the small galley in the boat, and Vojko and my father smoked pipes, sat in the cabin under the awning, and talked about fish. When we were children, we would climb aboard and change our bathing suits, tie them around the rail to dry, crawl one behind the other into the cabin and sit on the thick cushions around the joined wooden tables. Everyone got a small plastic cup with an anchor painted on it, a piece of bread, and then we ate stew. Vojko and my father went to the “grocery store” for watermelon, and mom Tea and mom Tanya cleaned up after us and placed the same kind of plastic plates with an anchor on the table, just a bit bigger. Then we children went outside and ate watermelon, and the adults in the cabin kneaded bread in the stew and talked about the island, about where we could all sail together the next day. The sun was shining, the seagulls were chirping, and it was wonderful.


And then, one day, Uncle Yane came to visit the ship. Uncle Yane wore a white T-shirt with a green crocodile on it, a thin gold chain around his neck, and a pack of “Camel” cigarettes in his front pocket. Wow, the rich uncle Yane came straight from Iraq. To me, it meant only one thing. Indescribable joy! There were no gifts like his! From Iraq or Kuwait, it didn’t matter to me. Yane always smelled nice and wore nice shoes, like moccasins, white linen pants, and a pack of “Camel” cigarettes. And under his armpit, he carried a large box with the words “Lego” and “Barbie” on it, and although my sister and I had several dolls and Lego blocks, because of the proximity to the border, we went shopping in Trieste, those were toys that he had brought us, hundreds of times so far, but really, they were hundreds of times better. My sister and I impatiently peeled off the paper and watched with our big eyes what was under it.


I got a package of Legos, which were not ordinary Legos, although they were for older children. They were called “Lego technology” and if you put them together, you got a real submarine that swam underwater. I was overjoyed. Completely. My sister got a set of small animals, which if you roll them up, float in water, and together we got a bathroom for the Barbie doll, a green pool with pink decorations, a small toilet bowl, a sink, and a locker. In addition to all that, there was also a soft rug, so that Barbie could walk on a soft surface after bathing, and there were also several small towels, i.e., wipers, and many, many miniature bottles, which Barbie will use as shampoos for bathing and perfumes after bathing when she sits on her pink, pretty table with a plastic mirror. Yane really knew how to cheer us up. So, we were all happy. My father, who saw his brother Yane after a long time, was happy to see him and that he had come to the sea, my mother was happy because of her new necklace with a dangling earring, which had Arabic letters on it, and we both my sister and me, we were happy because of the toys. And since it was slowly getting dark and since we were going to visit Rovinj, the tourist pearl of Istria, my mother dressed me and my sister nicely and gave us a nice bath, my father put on jeans and an ironed shirt from Capodistria, and my mother for this occasion put on some kind of black and red tunic with thin straps and we were ready to go for a walk. The walk meant we’d go to the toy stand where we’d both get some small toy and we’d all pass by all those painters who drew funny portraits, my dad would look at those slightly better art pictures, and then we’d sit down somewhere where my sister and I will drink juice and the adults will probably drink beer. So, my mother, my sister, my father, and I got into the little red boat, with which my father brought us to the port. With his hands, he held on to the rope with which a boat was attached to the shore, and in this way, he pulled the boat, which we called a small boat, towards the shore. After we girls got off the boat at the dock, my father went back to the boat, sat in the cabin, and waited for Yane to appear from inside, then to come ashore. But Yane wasn’t coming out. We were all waiting for it. My mother, my sister, and I were on the dock, and my father was on the boat. Ten minutes passed when my mother raised her hand in the air and stared questioningly at my father. He shrugged and tapped his fingers on the booth. Another ten minutes passed when my father knocked on the cabin once more.

[3] Kind of sea fish.

2023-01-06T10:06:03+00:00 December 30th, 2022|Categories: Prose, Literature, Blesok no. 148|Comments Off on Excerpt from the novel “Sleep my little one, sleep”