Trafika Europe 5 - Slovenian Interlude


The day I first heard the word ‘seconded’ was the day my mother shut herself away for the first time. I’m not sure what my father had told her, as he wouldn’t let me go back home with him when we returned from the market. Instead he told me to play in the courtyard until he called me in for lunch. This was the first, and last, official order I received from Colonel Nedelko Borojević in my life, but it had been uttered in such a way that its militaristic nature was in no doubt. I obeyed without objection. I was left to wander aimlessly, while father broke the terrible news about us having to move to Belgrade. I’ll never forget the silence that clouded the room when I came home: Normally, we kept the TV or radio on, so we wouldn’t hear the buzzing of the fridge. My mother dragged her clothes out of the large wardrobe in the hall and dropped them onto the bed, in the bedroom. The only thing on the dining table was a plate of macaroni with minced meat and some Parmesan, a clear message for me to eat lunch and ask no questions. My father told me, in passing, that we were going to Belgrade for a while because of his job, and that mother would pack my things. The next time he circled by me, he added that I could go back out and play or watch TV, but I wasn’t to hang around the apartment after lunch, because everything had to be put away before we left.


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