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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 13 | volume III | February-March, 2000



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 13February-March, 2000

The Gate to Heaven

p. 1
Stevo Simski

    From the feast of the Holy Healers to that of the Holy Cross, that is, from mid-July to late-September, the soul of Nikola Mihail was expiring, and before each sunset he proclaimed, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”
    That autumn afternoon Nikola raised his head from the bed several times, looking into the yard as if expecting someone to pass through the backyard wall. When the last red trace of the sun grew gray, he stood up from the bed and sat on the stool beside the two-winged window.
    – It's time for their evening prayers, said the old man.
    After almost three months of lying in bed he dressed himself and went into the kitchen. His son Boshko was sitting in front of the television watching some war movie. His daughter-in-law was sewing something under the lamp. The heavy smell of the boiling stew nauseated him, but the children's diapers, hanging around the wood stove, filled him with peace and tranquility.
    – You're up, huh? his son sighed.
    – I've decided to break open the gate.
    His daughter-in-law cut off her breath and turned her eyes toward her father-in-law. His son nervously produced a cigarette from the box, spun it in his fingers, licked it, and took a deep draw in order to light it through the door of the stove.
    – When? the son asked.
    – Now, the old man replied.
    – Did you decide now, or you're going to break it open now?
    – You are going to do it!
    – Whoever walled it up, he should…
    – You shut up! Boshko interrupted his wife.

* * *

    The following morning, before sunrise, Nikola and his son Boshko stood by the wall, marking off with scratches the place where the gate once was, which, for a hundred years connected the houses of Grandfather Mihail and Grandfather Sabit. For one of the families it provided an easy route to the mosque, for the other easy access to the gardens in Cair and to the cemetery.
    When the son climbed up the ladder and knocked loose the first brick with a hammer, the old man sighed deeply.
    – You know, Nikola said, when Grandfather Mihail died he was carried out

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