TE21 Serbian Moments
church garden and then remembered that there was a small package waiting for the priest in the post office; it arrived the day before from abroad. Egan stopped and thought of telling the priest but then he gave up that idea. The priest would get the official notice later that day anyway. Egan continued to walk. The priest observed the event from the church door and it made him feel slightly unpleasant. Jessie got very nervous at the mentioning of Meno’s name. She slammed the metal door of her garden and wanted to leave Egan standing outside on the street. Egan wouldn’t mind. But Jessie suddenly changed direction, returned to the metal door, and continued shouting.
“It’s a shithole, I know,” said Jessie,” and that too I can partially thank Meno and his kind for. Coffee or tea?” Egan opted for tea. He briefly got off the chair to remove his pullover. Jessie put the water to boil. “I was sixteen when they put their hands on me. Toots and his gang. Fuck, I had no choice. I was hungry, so were my siblings. They promised this and that, you know”, said Jessie sitting at the table opposite Egan and lighting up a cigarette. “DidyouknowMenowas theonewhobrokemostof us in?Toots would watch. He would sit there on his fake leather sofa and watch. Sometimes he’d ask other girls to come and watch too. I was sixteen, you know. Sixteen. OK, I was no angel”, admitted Jessie nodding her hair and puffing off tiny, prolonged clouds of smoke “But you knowwhat? I’ll never forget. His disgusting, dirty, oily, long hair touching my tits. My sixteen-year-old tits. The water’s boiling”. She got off the table and Egan could see only her back. She still looked sixteen, when her face was hidden. Clinking glasses. “Long story short, they promised a lot. Meno seemed like a nice guy, he was always so nice and helpful. Fifteen years later, I still had nothing. Meno owned me, you know, my entire life was scribbled in his notebook”.
“And what do you wanna know about that sonofabitch?”
“Jessie. You knowme. I’mno troublemaker. I’ve never inmy life shouted at or hurt anyone. If this ismaking you feel unpleasant, forget it. I’ll just leave”, said Egan with his standard post office dullness that could sometimes have a tranquilizing effect.
“Oh, Egan”, said Jessie, “Come, come in for a coffee.”
Egan got into her home and followed her to the kitchen. It was a shabby place but Jess somehow kept it together. Egan looked around only to communicate his interest in Jessie’s place, although he knew he would not remember anything he saw upon leaving her house.
Jessie brought two cups of tea to the table.
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