|(c) Mira Dimova|
I didn’t expect to see him again. I thought he was dead but perhaps that suited me better. The truth is I went to him myself.
He had chosen an old house in downtown Sofia for an office. As I walked to the place and counted the numbers, I already knew which house that might be. When I was a boy, I used to pass by it regularly on my way to my music classes. An old woman with long fingernails was continually standing at the ground-floor window, keeping record of those who crossed the barrier of her gaze. Her presence was so inevitable that for me the house, the woman and the stench that radiated from her window melted in a trinity of body, spirit and soul. In the hot summer days the smell of hair, unwashed for years, and wetted clothes, unchanged since the last time a caring neighbour donated her old rags, mixed with the deep odour of cellar coming from inside the rotten walls. On seeing me, she would catch me with the hooks of her eyes and start jabbering about receptions with ambassadors and stuff like that. She was eager to tell everybody the stories of her wild past and croon moldy tunes. No one really stopped to listen, except maybe me. She somehow paralyzed me. The house was overgrown with ivy, and if at places the falling plaster wasn’t visible, that was because the green leaves crept like a skin disease all over the walls and hung in garlands down the façade. Around the old lady’s window they wound a sort of a lifelong wreath.
The violin lessons lasted until my high-school graduation, so I witnessed the slow disintegration of the old woman. Come to think of it now, I wasn’t quite sure of her age. White locks of hair dangled over her tight skin and everything blended in the common grey background of filth. Her stories gradually fell into pieces which got jumbled up, forming strange new combinations, like centaurs, mermaids or fauns. READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.
Learn more about Kristin Dimitrova and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.