TE21 Serbian Moments

Nikola Tutek

The Widower

after James failed to appear at the funeral. She said: “Boy. Sit down.” So, I sat down in my father’s favorite armchair in the living room. One of those that can give you a foot massage. And my mother tells me: “ It wasn’t James who took your eye out. It was Gordon. ” Egan sometimes blocked and froze in such situations. If the word petrify would be taken literally, it would explain this condition in depth. This condition fell upon him when he was drafted into the army. And when doctors explained that his alcoholism might have caused a terminal disease in his intestines. And when Kate died. It turned out that his disease was a false alarm, and Kate was really gone. “Gordon was a respectable man. The Doctor de la Ville. My mother and he could not have the town know. It was unimaginable. The shame of it. The paradox, the irony. They would not tell.” “I don’t know; I was maybe a year old, James a year older. Mom said it was an accident, a terrible tragedy. It was, I don’t doubt that. She said Gordon was devastated. I grew up, I grew up,” said Melch, as if his thoughts were fugitive white laboratory rats that he was trying to catch and return to their cages, “I grew up absolutely loving James. And hating him. Like, really hating him. And James, poor James, for Christ fucking sakes!” He closed his eye. “How did it happen?”

“Melch,” said Egan, “You have to… You should…” But he found it impossible to finish the sentence. Instead, he extended his hand and instinctively put his palm onto the brown envelope. “He grew up thinking he’d done it. Imagine that, Egan. I was the one who lost the eye but he was the one who lost his mind. He left, he left. He left.”

“Have you been in contact all these years?”

“Rarely. He liveswith his family inArgentina. He’d call. And cry. For him, I was the reminder. Two sons of the much-respected Doctor Tramatonsky, Gee. One a cripple, the other Beelzebub. My dead eye was the pillow he slept on all these years. He loves me. And he hates me.”

“You have to tell him. Send a letter.”

“Says the postman!” Melch exclaimed and right away added, “Sorry.”

Egan swayed his hand signaling that no offense was taken.

“You know what I remember? I remember Gordon giving James home-grown psychotherapies, you know, helping him to accept, cope and live with the accident . Actually, it was brainwashing. Gordon was cunningly implanting the thought of taking my eye out into James’s mind. That’s what almost made James go entirely mad. He escaped just in time.”



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