Excerpt from the novel Teacher of Love

/, Literature, Blesok no. 138 - 139/Excerpt from the novel Teacher of Love

Excerpt from the novel Teacher of Love

And his house, on the outside, and even more so on the inside, was more unusual than any house I had ever seen. At the top of the hill, and from afar, it attracted everyone’s attention, because it was built and painted differently from the others. Set in vivid colours, with red shutters on the windows on which a heart was carved. And on it and around it there were various instruments and devices. Large antennas were rising. Weathercocks and wind gauges of different shapes and colours were spinning. Ladies with sun umbrellas or gentlemen with rain umbrellas came out of the small houses in various styles, predicting sun or rain. At the same time they rattled and whistled lke, even in the mildest wind, the wire fence that surrounded the orchard whistled. And that melody was similar to the one that was repeated when the Venetian gondola was wound, which mum, for me not to reach it, kept in the closet in our bedroom. The stems of Loize’s fruit trees were much smaller than those in other orchards, and the fruits on them were much larger. And his orchard, not just the flower beds around the house, was full of flowers and colourful sticks stuck in the ground with shiny balls and birdhouses…

I often sneaked up to the fence of that wonderful garden and watched it for a long time, not being able to look at it enough and be amazed. And you could reach it across the rail. On the road to school, along which my grey cat followed me until the pneumonia kept me in bed, staying at the ramp, where, not being allowed to cross the tracks, waited for me to get back from school. Then, onto an even higher hill, near the church and the cemetery, from where, in winter, we went down by sled all the way to the railway.

Several times my father and I went to Uncle Loize’s garden, through the gate which, I don’t know how, opened and closed by itself, and, accompanied by his German shepherd Socrates, which panted in my ear, as if whispering something important, I entered his house which had many more miracles inside than around it. There were wires all over the floor. Something was moving and shining everywhere. By pressing buttons and some levers, everything opened and closed, rose and fell, turned on and off. The house of master Uncle Loize was like a chaotic order on the inside of the radio that irresistibly attracted me. But the Christmas tree left the strongest impression on me, and was decorated in his house all year round, full of decorations that he made himself and all covered in colourful flashing lights. And what I wanted most, while he and Dad were sitting at the table and pouring one glass after another, was to sit on the floor, on the bear skin and rummage through the cardboard suitcase, with metal-framed corners containing photos and postcards.

In that, for me, magic suitcase, among other things, had a cropped photo of the Sarajevo Cathedral, published in the magazine Dom i svet, in 1889, under which it was written in Slovenian: Front facade of the Cathedral of the Heart of Jesus in Sarajevo. And on my baptism certificate, which my mother kept in a white canvas bag at the bottom of the wardrobe, through which I wanted to rummage when no one, at least for a short time, was at home, under: Vrhbosanska Archbishopric, it was written: county office of the Heart of Jesus, and at the bottom, in purple ink, in handwriting similar to that of my dad, was the signature of Seraphim T., military dean. In one ochreous photograph, with worn edges, were, according to the resemblance, Uncle Loize’s parents. They’re sitting next to each other. His father was his age, or even younger. He’s hugging the woman with his arm, who must have been Loize’s mother, because, like her, she had a long, flat nose, thick, juicy lips, and thin, curved eyebrows. The photograph captured and preserved their multiple inconveniences. You could see that their clothes were not everyday, but formal. The one that is protected from moths with naphthalene, is ventilated once a year and is worn only on exceptional occasions. For weddings and funerals. In which they don’t even look like themselves. You could also see that the man’s rough hand, gently placed over the woman’s shoulder, in the presence of the photographer, was causing mutual hidden shame. Besides, they were afraid of probably the first photo. Just as a similar fear was seen in the eyes of the boy, Loize or one of his many brothers, placed among the parents, a little older, and in the same clothes, in the photograph taken at the beginning of the century, in the studio of Alois Ber, in Klagenfurt. An image, in the format of a postcard, on which, in the middle of Ljubljana, a crowd of people is gathered. At the bottom, in Slovenian, with a trembling primary school handwriting, in larger letters, someone wrote: Founding of Yugoslavia – 29 X 1918, and below, on the left: Photo Fr. Grabic – Ljubljana, on the right: Reproduction prohibited. The head of one of the many unrecognizable flag bearers in the front rows, rounded with a red pencil. Snow desert and someone’s footsteps across the ridge, and too covered in new snow. A Half-nude of a woman whose face sank into darkness from which only her curves appear. According to the size of the breasts, on which the nipples were like two small churches on two adjacent hills, I assumed that it was Uncle Loize’s Lily…

Black and white and colour postcards. Zenica – Ugljane Hospital, Photograph and Print: Adolf Weiss, dated early April 1920. Egg, waterfall, mid-July of the same year. Lawn, a few days later, stamp: F. Lipski, from which the stamp was not taken off, on which in Latin and Cyrillic it is written: Country SHS. Correspondence Card: Mostar, with many greetings and kisses from the illegible signatory, 1923. Several Sarajevo panoramas from that time. Apelov Brijeg with the City Hall. Commander’s Palace… Everything printed by Simon Katan, Sarajevo…

AuthorJosip Osti
Translated byZorica Teofilova
2021-08-17T21:00:19+00:00 August 15th, 2021|Categories: Prose, Literature, Blesok no. 138 - 139|0 Comments