TE21 Serbian Moments

Kristina Dimitrova

The Smile

she believes me and doesn’t believe me at the same time. ‘Are they coming tomorrow?’ ‘Yes,’ I tell her, ‘tomorrow morning.’ I know she won’t remember anything in fifteen minutes. But she won’t leave me alone. ‘And who called to say they were coming tomorrow? My son?’ ‘Yes Judy, it was him.’ I start thinking I’ve tricked her but she says, ‘He hasn’t come to see me for so long. I don’t believe he called. My daughter, she didn’t call either.’ Two hours later she asks again if anyone called for her. And why nobody comes to see her…” I fell silent. I wanted to say one thing and said something else. My brother took advantage immediately. I pretended tobrowse through theboxof medication. Myhands shook. I swallowed. I stared at the printer and its impersonal features returned my perception of the imperturbability of the everyday. “But you remembered to invite our father to the funeral. I saw him in the photos.” “I didn’t invite him! He found out on Facebook. Screw him. At least he came on his own.” “Sounds familiar.”

“It seems you’ve been keeping in touch with him?”

My brother took a tissue out of a packet on the table and started blowing his nose. He blew it and blew it, and then he said:

“He’s been keeping in touch with me.”

“And you haven’t been keeping in touch with him.”

“Alright, he calls from time to time. What do you suggest - that I hang up on him? You know how it goes - when you get old you go soft and start remembering everyone close to you that you have run over on your way. He’s lonely. He’s scared. His wife is constantly watching that he doesn’t stray and when she comes in the room he hangs up. Or he pretends that he is talking to a classmate. Can you imagine? A classmate. He goes, ‘How’s it going, Captain?’” My brother was lost in thought. I didn’t say anything and he continued, “Look, I am sorry it happened like that with the funeral. I wasn’t with it. I was panicking that I wouldn’t be able to cope and just did everything the funeral parlour suggested. I couldn’t judge a lot of things. To tell you the truth, you didn’t miss much.”

“Screw him. Loser.”

We both laughed without meaning to.

“Screw him.”

“Will you stay?” he asked.



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