Translated by Paul Filev
I get up in the morning and stare at the coffee pot in which he boiled water. Next to the jar with brown sugar, his box of green tea. I open the box and see that there are only three tea bags left. I’ll finish them, I think to myself. After that, I don’t know. I don’t know whether I’ll throw the box out or leave it there, because it’s his box of green tea.
The tea has a bitter taste and I don’t like it. I know that you’re meant to drink it without sugar, the way he drank it. If things were okay, I’d add sugar. No, I’d drink coffee, the way I’ve done every morning so far. But now I have to finish his tea. It’s bitter and tasteless. For me right now, nothing is meant to taste good. Hot and bitter, the tea suits me.
Around midday, my friend Maria drops round. I get up to open the door for her, and when we come back into the living room, she always sits in my place. She never wonders to herself if maybe I had been sitting there. She never feels the warm seat, never asks herself, ‘Hang on a moment, was my friend sitting here, have I sat in her spot?’ That’s Maria. She never wonders about anything. She’s come wearing a black mini skirt, sheer black tights, heeled boots, jacket, red blouse, red nails, lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, glitter eyeshadow, and loud earrings that sparkle and dangle back and forth with every movement of her head. She’s been to the hairdresser’s. She’s had a manicure. She smells of some godawful perfume, intense and bitter, which makes me want to vomit. But then I should feel like throwing up, so I sit closer to her.
‘I brought you some soup,’ says Maria.
‘I’m not sick that you needed to bring me soup,’ I reply. I know that I’m being rude, but then it’s my husband who’s just died.
‘I made it for you today. You need to eat more often. You’ll get sick.’
I remain silent. She didn’t need to get all dressed up just to come over. I light a cigarette.
‘You should air out the place a bit,’ she says to me, as if it’s her own flat. ‘It smells strange in here.’
‘You smell strange.’
Maria lets out a sigh.
‘I’ve got things to do. I’ll drop by again tomorrow.’
I stand at the window and watch as she leaves. Her ass sways from side to side as she walks in heels. Her hair bounces up and down. She rummages through her bag. Her slender fingers with long painted nails have probably come across some make-up, a packet of scented wipes, chewing gum. Presumably the jangling of keys can be heard. She takes out the car key and points it towards her shiny, just-washed vehicle. The indicator lights come on and the car roars into life, as if it’s pleased that Maria is going to hop in and drive it. A warm spring breeze ruffles through her hair before she gets into the car. The young leaves and tender branches rustle, as if they’re all saying: ‘Bye Maria!’ She exits the carpark and heads off somewhere where she’ll laugh, showing perfect white teeth, and giggle, and make jokes, and go on with her life. The street is still drenched in crisp sunshine when she has disappeared. A short while later a girl and boy pass by. They’re holding hands. They’re laughing loudly. The girl kisses the boy on the neck. Behind them are walking two teenagers. They’re talking loudly and laughing about something. All of them have peeled off layers of clothes. The sun causes their pupils to narrow and brings out the freckles on their pale faces. How are they not embarrassed, I wonder to myself. The world hasn’t stopped, but Sveto – my world – is in the ground. Now he’s beginning to decompose. His body is cold, as if it had been refrigerated, the way it was when I touched him as he lay in the coffin. Soil presses down on the coffin. It’s said that the worms eat the dead. How do they enter the coffin? I ask myself. Or do they emerge from the body itself? How can they come into being on their own? I wonder. A car with lively music blaring stops in front of the building. The music is dreadful. I move away from the window.