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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 53 | volume X | March-April, 2007



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 53March-April, 2007
Prose

Night Training

(Excerpt from the novel)


/8
p. 1
Sibila Petlevski

Francisco José de Goya, Nothing Could Be Done about It (Caprichos, no.24) 1796-1797

    In her brood skirt, she was riding a mule. Her feet were hanging at the side, pole, lightly wrinkled, as if pulled out of water. Between the toe and the ankle there was that characteristic extended line that some times, particularly in mortals covered in cold sweat, could excite compassion all by itself, moisten our eyes as if we were looking at a dear face that had had its expression stolen from it by sorrow, and not just a bare foot in which life on the move had inscribed a furrow. The patterned roll with the round bobble on the top, that tall, pointed head covering that we might today describe as being in the form of an upside-down corner pressed down on a shaved female head instead of a scoop of ice cream. The tip of this unusual cap stabbed into the implacable blue of the Spanish sky, its brilliant colours, not just scattered around anyhow, creating a meaningful pattern, appealing to as many people as possible. The mob gathered round, and the mule found it hard to push its way through. The bared breasts of the middle-aged rider were separated by a bar around which her fingers were curled on the bottom end. The upper part with its iron hoop strengthened the neck of the woman, gripped by on affliction that there was no helping, so that it seemed she was as dependent on this garrotte as the cripple on his crutch, that she would have collapsed without this brace, as the heads of black-skinned tribal beauties give way as soon as they are freed of the necklace that have kept the vertebrae of their swanlike necks apart ever since their birth. In moments that lead to no way out, when everything is brought down to its ending in some irremediable manner, the position of the lids on the drooping eye and the angle of the pursed lips create some distinctive geometry of descent. The lines of dumb despair at once depart from the circles that they have themselves described, forsaking the oval of the anguished face.
    If there had been no metal ring to keep her chin up – I thought, looking at the scene that the hand of Goya had incised in copper – perhaps the face of this woman on the mule would have remained a blank, deprived of traces of humanity. From it, the eyes,


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