|(c) Sasha Damianova|
This is the eighth in a series of posts that will preview the upcoming issue of Absinthe, our 17th, focused on Bulgaria. In this post we present an excerpt from a novel by Krassimir Damianov.
from Diary of a Butterfly, translated by Angela Rodel
For a long time I couldn’t find myself a girl after you. I kept looking for your type, your height, your elegance, your screams, your eyes, your voice . . . My eyes often played tricks on me, your slender silhouette would suddenly appear at the end of the street, in the elevator at a store, in the flickering of the streetcar or on the steps in front of the university. I mistook the Vietnamese girls for you — there were lots of them in Sofia at the time — because of your petite figure or I would simply imagine that it could be you with your slanted eyes. Even though you didn’t fit with the cold or the slushy snow on those frosty mornings. Once, as I rode home on trolleybus number two, slightly tipsy, at around eleven o’clock at night, I pressed up against a woman in front of me. Unconsciously at first, there were lots of people on the bus, but then — I sensed her like an animal and felt that she sensed me, too — completely deliberately, with the desperation of a condemned man! Because it was you, your scent of seaweed, your warmth, your body . . . I missed my stop, one, two, and three more. . . Finally we ended up alone in the empty trolley, stuck together like Siamese twins, skin prickling, without speaking, without thinking. As I got off the bus behind you I saw that you had a limp, a heavy limp. . .You stopped, turned around, looked at me with contempt, noticed my shock, and continued wobbling your way along the dark path between the apartment blocks in the unfamiliar neighborhood. READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.
Learn more about Krassimir Damianov and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.