Blesok no. 60, May-June, 2008

The Son

Stevo Simski

He was thirty when his father was dying in the next room. It was three am. He wanted to be gone until the morning. He painfully waited for his look to pierce through the window that shortened the outside darkness. Looking tense, he barely saw some points in his face, that split in the double window glass. He chain smoked sitting on the bed.
    He was suffocated by the image of his mother opening the door and calling him standing on the threshold, without words. His heart beats were going out through his fingers. His eyes were wet from the darkened nature of what was to happen. His look could not flow out of the door and it started peeling off the rough layers of paint and getting through them. It stopped before the size of the hinges. A foot under the top, in the middle the rough damage on the board scratched his eyes. He looked down the crooked board of the frame wand went down on the darkened key that attracted him with its presence and needlessness. He had no strength to think. The oily edge of the door, under the spent door knob amazed him and darkened his look. He always mechanically pressed it to close it.
    … Looking at the door he wished it would never open again. That it doesn’t exist. That’s it’s built in… He was ready to get up and lock it. But then it moved, in a straight line, towards the room, pressing the space with all the air in it. Giving birth to a pain that would not allow him to scream. Planting a memory and weight that most of the people never get rid of, bringing unbased guilt: “Was it supposed to happen now?”. A duration that is stressed until the last heartbeat.
    His mother stood on the threshold. But he didn’t recognize her. He didn’t know that she could get old so much in several hours. To fade away. To get gray. But he knew it was her because nobody else had the right, nobody else could open the door.
    “Your father is asking for you.” He read on her lips.
    Standing up from the bed he lost several kilos. His head pulled him up, and still he was sitting. He was split. He could not step. Walk. Breathe. He passed the threshold long as if the draught returned him in some weightlessness… Then he was above his father’s bed.
    “Son, rub my feet.” The old man showed with his eyes, slowly opening his lips.
    Fulfilling his father’s wish, he touched the coldest thing that burns and leaves a trace. No matter how much he was covered by forgetfulness, the memory returned it to him with the presence of the everyday objects that were used by the one who’s now gone in an irrevocable way. Was it the coldness that is transferred from one generation to another by being silent as understanding the end? The final possibility of living? The last unchangeable value? The need to escape the circle? Or, opposing only one possibility. Fear of the known. Penetrating of the membrane that prevents the acknowledgment of the end. The only truth of living.
    The other day he could not fill in the emptiness created from the cold immobile body. He could not open his mouth for anything but for a cigarette. Then the advice that came with mimes were not helpful at all: “Eat, you have to eat. Take another bite. Stop smoking. You just out it down. Stop smoking.”
    He waved his head opening the second box of cigarettes that day. He crushed the cigarette between his thumb and forefinger for a long time. Then his teeth left a mark on the filter. He took out the cigarette picking his lips with it for a long time. He frowned his eyebrows. He returned his cigarette in his mouth. He lit it quickly throwing the match in the ashtray, but it fell on the floor. This did not scare him at all. He looked how the match burnt out on the floor. He created images form his childhood in the cigarette smoke for a long time.
    The next day, at noon, the old women said that the gates of heaven were on a pretty place, under a shade. The day was unbearably sunny…
    When they put the last flower on the dug out ground, the ones who were there had to eat their sandwiches if they wanted to leave.
    “Sit on a grave not to dream of your father as a dead man.” He read on his mother’s lips.
    He wanted to oppose, but he sat on the closest tomb, overcome by fatigue. Then his aunt came and explained him that the tomb he was sitting on was not a grave yet. Just a tomb. A place marked during the lifetime of somebody who wanted to be close to his own when he was buried.
    The son waved away with his hand, and his aunt could not insist.
    That night, very late, sitting on his bed he fell asleep. His mother took off his shoes and put him on the bed covering him. He just murmured something. He turned, half to the right, towards the wall. He opened his eyes. He looked at a water color painting, made by his father. But the dreams were pressing and his eyes closed themselves, as blinds.
    … The telephone rang… He got up and went to the hall to pick it up. He could not find it. The ringing continued… It came from his father’s room. He opened the door and entered… There was just a coffin in the room. The ringing came from the coffin. He opened the lid. He saw his father wrapped in white cloth inside. The ringing would not stop. He looked for the phone at the feet lifting the cloth. Then he felt his father was trying to get up. He was not scared but he made a step backwards, to the wall. His father started unwrapping himself from the cloth. He opened his eyes. He opened his mouth. He smiled insecurely.
    “Son, come over here to tell you something.” The con approached relaxed.
    “Rub my feet and we’ll run.”
    … They ran by the coast for a long time. They walked in the lake. They threw stones on the calm water.
    “Let’s see who’s faster to the big tree!?” said the father. The son ran and he came to the big tree first. He turned, but there was nobody behind him.
    “Daaaaaad!” the son yelled loud scared.
    … His mother stood at the door to his room. Mute. The last vowel of son’s scream went through the door behind her and was lost, in the world.

Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska

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