TE21 Serbian Moments
The Pear Field
‘Sorry to bother you. Do you mind if we use your phone for a minute?’ asks Lela. ‘Come in, come in!’ saysMzia, beckoning themintotheentrance hall. The flat is spotless and smells of fresh baking. Mzia brings out a small stool for Irakli and Lela perches on the sideboard next to the telephone. They’ve been here before. Mzia carefully closes the doors leading off the hallway to give them some privacy. Irakli places his index finger carefully intoeach holeand rotates thedial steadily. Mzia’s daughter comes into the hall and stands there staring intently. Around seven or eight, she has a chubby belly, puppy-fat breasts and a large, hairy beauty spot on her cheek which reminds Lela of a furry beetle, although that’s something she’s never actually seen. ‘Mymum,’ heanswerswithout lookingup, anddials thenumber again. The little girl stands in the hall for a while until she gets bored and then disappears back into the kitchen. Irakli dials again. This time he gets through. ‘Who are you phoning?’ the girl asks Irakli.
‘Mum, it’s me.’
‘Irakli! How are you?’ says the woman, sounding taken aback. ‘I haven’t managed to come home yet, Ika. I’ve had so much going on… I found some work but – Well, I need to look for something else. How are you, though?’
‘Fine. When are you coming back?’
Irakli speaks tersely, clutching the receiver in one hand and leaning his opposite elbow on his knee.
‘Next week. I already told you, remember?’
‘Do you mean this week coming up?’
‘Yes, don’t you remember me telling you?’
‘No, I remember,’ he says. ‘I thought you meant this week now, though.’
‘Where are you calling from?’
‘I’m at the neighbours’.’
‘ Allo? ’
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