Trafika Europe 6 - Arabesque

the physics of sorrow

a past-time machine

The last time I went back to T., I noticed some strange things. They had restored the monument from the 1980s on the town square. I could have sworn i t wasn’t there a week ago. I remembered that monument well. A man with a long granite garment, perhaps a cassock, an overcoat or a royal mantle. And with the most nondescript face you’l l ever see. On al l important historical dates it somehow inexpl icably took on the features of the corresponding hero who was to be honored. On February 19, it became Vasil Levski, on June 2 Hristo Botev. It was also a Bulgarian tsar, most of ten Simeon, sometimes a monk from Mount Athos, somet imes a par t i san

guerri l la commander. It was most of ten saddled wi th the task of being Georgi Dimitrov or some other (local) communists. A universal monument. It had its overcoat, noble forelock, and high forehead— the minimum requirements for every hero back then. Now they’ve cleaned it up and I could even see that a fresh wreath of braided carnations with two red ribbons had just been placed at its base. I also noticed that the newspapers arrived a day late, the shop clerks had become sullen like back in the day, there was no Internet, while the stores sold only two types of salami and frankfurters. Given all of this, plus my fruitless experiments on


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