TE21 Serbian Moments

Nikola Tutek

The Widower

II. Doctor Five Minutes Melchisedek Tramatonsky, the one-eyed younger son of the recently deceased doctor Gordon Tramatonsky, entered through the main entrance of the Post Office, Egan saw that as an unusual stroke of luck. The young man walked with a small brown envelope in his hands, and Egan caught the sight of him accidentally, on his way to the ground floor toilets which, for some inexplicable reason, reeked less than the toilets on the upper floors. Although Egan did not work directly with customers for years, he readily offered his help to the young man. They sat in Egan’s office. The brown envelope on the table between them. Melchisedek lost one of his eyes in a domestic accident when he was a kid. Egan looked at the table finding it hard to look intheonlyremainingMelchisedekeye. Unpleasant silence. “I feel bad about calling you up here, Melch,” said Egan finally, making long pauses between words, “I did not call you here to help you. Or, better to say, not just to help you.” “I knowthat, Egan. Noone in thisworld needs helpwithposting an envelope. Not even one-eyed people. So, what’s bothering you?”

Melchgaveanunusual sound, a bastardized laughwhichwould be better defined as a quieter shriek. For a second he covered his face with his palm. “Well, of course. I should have known. You too. OK. I’ll tell you what I know. What I don’t know, I can’t tell.”

“I don’t understand. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, Egan. Well,” Melch gave a reluctant little laugh, “If you prefer to beat around the bush, let’s do it, by all means.” Melch made a pause which he used for taking a long, deep breath.

“Do you know how I lost my eye?”

Egan looked the other way, towards the post office wardrobe made of full metal and painted in grey. “Thewhole town knows that,” Eganfinally replied, andwhen he met with Melch’s silence, he continued, “Your brother James. It was an accident. You were just kids.’ “My father died in June, two months ago,” said Melch as if tired or convalescing from alcohol poisoning,” The day after the funeral my mother said she wanted to talk to me. I left the job earlier than usual, sat in the car, and drove to her house. I thought she needed all the support I could give her, especially

“I wish to talk to you about your father.”



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