Structo issue 10

Page 8

Crown fikret pajalic


amo could no longer remember his wife’s face, save the pinkness of her cheeks, unless he looked at her picture. The skin of his fingertips could recall the smallest imperfection on her grave marker that he chiselled out of limestone. And when he tried to remember her face his hand instinctively went to his chest where the bullet wound that never healed properly made a mosaic out of his skin in the shape of a cloverleaf. Like the trunk of a plum tree that hasn’t been painted with whitewash, left exposed to beetles, fungus and rust mites eating the core, Ramo felt weakness and melancholy overcome his body. His was the affliction of a man whose roots were torn by war and who had no interest growing new ones in a new country. It caused his eyelids to blink less than normal and he walked around with ‘possum-in-the-night’ eyes, wide and unflickering, as if he found the world more than he could comprehend. The night terrors returned. Men with long black beards cloaked in robes darker than night would sit on his chest suffocating him slowly. They held double-edged daggers in their lipless mouths and through their noses hummed church liturgies in an old Slavic language. He screamed for help, in vain. There was no one to call when light came. He started sleeping with the night lamp on and soon the night terrors turned into sleepless nights. Wakefulness smeared his eye sockets like mud. He turned into a guard dog, alert to the smallest creaks of the night, never fully at rest. He reckoned he was like a solitary Rottweiler and for nearly a decade he knew or wanted nothing else. In his forty-second year of life Ramo went to see his doctor complaining about a persistent discomfort in the right side of his abdomen that lingered like words which shouldn’t have been said out loud. “It keeps vibrating.” He pointed to his side, where the doctor later confirmed his suspicion it was where his liver resided. “It’s like a child blowing bubbles with a straw, except it hurts,” Ramo elaborated while the doctor took notes. He hadn’t any confidence in his doctor, a stubborn man with bad hearing. At home he called him a quack and good only for a sick certificate. As soon as he thought this, he scolded himself for being unfair. He went to this doctor because he could talk his own language. They would recollect their childhood memories, even though they were born miles away and decades apart. They talked about grilled écevapi, eating plums until they vomited and playing soccer on dirt roads where cars ven-


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.