Countdown (excerpt)

/, Literature, Blesok no. 120-121/Countdown (excerpt)

Countdown (excerpt)

Winner of Novel of the Year award of “Slavko Janevski” foundation for 2017

He hugged me and told me – even though we never talked like that and never openly expressed our thoughts or wishes which would have made me feel like I was doing something improper – he told me candidly that he could not wait to finally see me. With that same unexpected ease he took my hand while leading me through the little hallway of the foyer and in the elevator he touched my face, first the hair that had fallen over my eyes, then the face, looking me straight in the eye, which made me feel embarrassed and that embarrassment was but a strong sign that I was falling in love and there would be no turning back. When I closed my eyes, resting on his pale palm, everything disappeared, everything was clear, and nothing existed but my face and Ivan’s palm. We go into his apartment, the door opens with incredible ease, we don’t sit but lay down without a single forced motion, effortlessly, as if we had been laying down just like that our whole lives, he is then my husband, I am his alone and that is the only thing that is real and that exists. Words do not exist, nor least of all my husband, the one that is sound asleep, and who I thought would somehow find a way to be here, a reason for the start of a pointless conversation with the aim to ease the tension, but fortunately neither that nor anything else existed in that moment.

The fact that we did not discuss my husband was in fact quite proper as he had previously been constantly present as a sort of an excuse, my husband was the excuse for the start of our increased communication, comfort and an exchange of experiences, for all our phone conversations, sometimes even for the texts we sent when I could talk, so he could ask me how I was doing living in unbearable misery, now was the right time to leave my husband dream in peace, and we could go on falling in love, do it in person (not over the phone). For me it was making love, I could not even imagine physical contact being anything else, as I had never before had an adventure that was based only on it. Furthermore, I had dreamed about this, painting pictures in my head during those nights when I held the phone to my ear, never leaving the door of my sleeping husband’s room out of my sight, and after I would go to sleep, I would dream. It had to be making love because both time and the fear of the risk and everything that ceased to exist during that elevator ride remained nonexistent, except for me and him inside of me, while he was looking at me and I enjoyed peeking up trying to understand if he was enjoying himself and to make sure that this was actually happening. His touch on my face slides over my chest to my stomach, Ivan is now no longer a picture, he is truly inside me, to the hilt, and from beginning to end, genuinely, for the first time, on my face when I finally open my eyes and catch sight of the time that, after all, does exist in the ugly wall clock that stares at me from behind his head, time stares and I have to wash my face in a hurry and leave before the little houses on the street where I live awaken.

When I was ready to leave, he remained laying on the bed, which did not seem to me a gesture of a lack of attention or laziness that should cause me displeasure, on the contrary I felt joy when tired and half-asleep he told me to leave that house as soon as possible, that I was young, too young and no one would blame me if I decided to live, any sane person would do that, I am just playing with fire and am obviously oblivious to the consequences, after all, he could help me, I could stay with him, and that seemed to me a nicer gesture than any possible farewell walk to the door, I could stay with him he said, and I left. Feeling as if I am walking on air, I am thinking how nice it is that I now have something to dream about in the future, something that has actually happened and how nice it is to feel like you are walking on air that I do not even notice that the man driving me back is the same taxi driver who drove me there, he is the one who notices, saying that this is not the first time this has happened to him, that not often, but sometimes his path crosses with the ones of his passengers’, and I do not care to explain that this is not destiny but the probability of an occurrence like this is simply greater because it is his job to drive people around in a city which is not so big that they never meet again, I do not care that things would be really bad if my husband has woken up, maybe it is meant to be, maybe there is no better way to leave someone, there has to be certain cruelty involved, everything else is just simply masking the pain, and pain is always unpleasant. Just as unpleasant was the disappearance of my freedom in the moment when I saw the house I lived in and the door through which I was to enter soundlessly. Before dropping me off a couple of houses down, my taxi driver informed me that his name was old Gele and old Gele bid me farewell with the advice to smile when I lay down to sleep because if I fall asleep smiling, I would wake up smiling as well, which I took to be a sign of closeness. To him I am no longer a regular passenger, but someone he can advise because our paths have crossed, and as he believes, I am someone he can bid goodnight to and all that was good because the whole night was good and it would continue to be good if I enter soundlessly and lay down to sleep smiling.

AuthorFrosina Parmakovska
Translated byMonika Mihajlovska
AwardNovel of the Year
2019-01-15T10:40:50+00:00 September 19th, 2018|Categories: Prose, Literature, Blesok no. 120-121|0 Comments