TE21 Serbian Moments

Where are you from? (short story) Darko Tuševljaković Translated from Serbian by John Cox

“It’s all about the lines,” he said. “And the circles, concentric ones.” We were sitting next to one another in a cramped space, with him by the window and me in the least desirable seat, the one in the middle. A few minutes earlier the flight attendant had stood there at row F and asked us what kind of sandwiches we’d like. I took chicken; he took the one with beef. The first thing he said, after he undid the plastic wrap, was about the food. “Everybody complains about airplane meals,” he said, smiling, as if to apologize for addressing me when I had not asked himanything. “But I think they’re delicious. I don’t know what people expect on a two-hour flight. Beef stroganoff with sides?” I nodded my head, although my sandwich was actually dry and bland. Maybe I should’ve chosen the beef. “Are you a frequent flier?” I returned the question, since it seemed like he felt bad about breaking in on me and my food. He nodded. He seemed like a decent type. He used a napkin to wipe some butter from his mustache, and then, with the index finger of that same hand, he adjusted theway his glasses sat on his nose. It was a motion he wasn’t even aware of. And then, out of nowhere, he mentioned that thing about lines and circles. “We all have a point, a center point,” he said, looking pensive, as though he were choosing his words with great care. “It doesn’t have to be the place we were born in, but it is the center of our

Darko Tuševljaković


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