TE21 Serbian Moments

Nikola Tutek

The Widower

Egan wanted to talk about Meno.

door of the church.

“But that was years ago,” the priest said reluctantly to continue the conversation. Egan was persistent. He explained to the priest that his quest was of an extremely personal nature and that everything the priest might tell him was to remain a secret. “Oh, I have nothing to hide,” the priest said, “Meno was one of the most devoted members of our community. I know, it’s strange, taking into consideration that he was....” the priest took a breath, “He did not believe in God, he admitted that to me. Meno just needed some safety, some routine, something to count on and I respected that. We are not here to judge but to open our hearts to the needy. Besides that, there’s nothing much I can tell you about him, really. He came froma very poor and abusive family, and he had to find his own way through. He always made money and never had any. I will remember him for one thing,” said the priest and silently laughed, “He’d come to the Sundaymass and he’d always put a bigger banknote into the charity box. He did it dramatically, in the way that everybody had to see. And after the mass he’d come to me, he’d complain about his situation, and he’d ask for the banknote back. After some time, I’d return the banknote after every mass even without him asking.” Egan nodded his head. That was already more information than he expected to get. The priest walked him towards the

“He had a wife. She never came here. Actually, Meno was very secretive about his marriage. They didn’t have children,” the priest continued as they reached the rays of light circling around the frame of the door. He spread his hands’ palms up, just as he did when he preached, “You might try talking to his wife.” “And yes,” the priest continued, again with a smile on his face, “He never washed his hair. I think he never washed his hair.” “His hair, indeed,” repeated Egan with an unexpected seriousness. “Is there anyone besides his wife I could talk with about Meno?” “Well, you know how it is with such people; all of his friends and enemies alike are either dead or in prison,” said the priest and then frowned his eyebrows touching his lower lip with his thumb. “But there is Jessie, you could try talking to her.” “Oh, no,” Egan retorted somewhat hastily, “I rather wouldn’t.”

“Jessie? Jessie from the flower shop?”

“Yes, that Jessie. Of course, if she’s ready to talk about it.”

Egannodded inanattempt toassurethepriestof theguaranteed secrecy of their conversation. He started going down the



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