Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll
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96

I told her to put her shoes on. She said she wasn’t so stupid

as to go in slippers. Mama, I said, those aren’t shoes, they’re

slippers. No, no, she said. You’re crazy, you can’t even buy

bread without getting lost in a square somewhere, you can’t

even get to Spain. Don’t you talk to me. I know what

slippers are. And she went. She forgot her bag and money,

too. She’s only getting some bread, I thought, she can go in

her slippers. Then she said that she would come soon and

that she would cook some pasta for me. Listen to some

music, she said and left. She was crossing the road, they

said, and lost a slipper. Then, they said, she turned round to

go and get the slipper, but a car came and ran her over. The

slippers were still there. I took them and cut them up. She

didn’t die immediately. When I telephoned, she was still

alive. She told me to look after myself and not to leave the

gas on because it was expensive and we didn’t have money

to waste, like others do. And then she died.

Srečko is quiet. Karlo says he will help him, if necessary,

and Mama also says something. She says he should come to

us if he needs anything. Srečko says nothing. I’m looking at

his thin hair, his eyes that are red. His arms are hanging by

his side as he sits there. I’m warm. I think of my dress with

the butterflies. I feel even warmer. I’m afraid, suddenly,

that the butterflies will suffocate. I get up, unbutton my

coat, walk to the door, open it and go out, to the iron door,

I walk faster, I open it, I walk on. I hear Karlo calling me. I

walk on. People walk past me, now they look at me. I know

they’re looking at my butterflies. I don’t want them to look