by Horia Dulvac [Romania]
translated from Romanian by Manuela Stancu
pentru versiunea română click aici
The aunt who made me empty dozens of buckets of water into the ditch, buckets as small as thimbles, would ask me every time: `Are you a witness I gave them water?` `I am!`. Back then, in the South, rumours used to fly around like stray dogs. Better yet, like dogs without bodies, or that Russian laboratory specimen, who drooled feebleminded because he did not have a stomach. His stomach has been replaced with a jar where illusory gastric juices of hunger bubbled at the end of rubber tubes……
The whole purpose of this story with water was to lead us unconsciously to the burrow. To betray its virginal dreams. To crack open its belly filled with secrets. (On one of the communist coins was engraved a miner breaking something with his pickaxe.)
It was the week after Easter.
I was watching the phosphorescent glow of the egg-shelled sailing ships, heading wobbly like Squeaker catfishes towards the bellies of some fat waters. I heard voices, or heated discussions between men and, under a water curtain, I saw the gentle grandparents in their illuminated and warm underground caves. To cross on the other side, I had to find the right bridge: even the innocent streams have hidden pot holes, where the foot suddenly collapses into sinkholes. In there, the beginning has been already created and worlds, as small as a needle pin head, can swallow everything in little traps and unfathomable corners. Without chewing, like a boa snake.
– The best place was at the church entrance: I could leave it without bothering anyone. I could even spot details from there…
The people flowing into the river were engaged in a deafening but mute animation. It was the river mouth of all lust, bulged out up to the throat. (They always stumbled in Adam’s apple) A hand or a familiar face, would surface out from the waves to be suddenly swallowed: perhaps some relative or friend asking for my help.
Climbing those walls up to the towers would leave us with worn nails. What can you do with a ladder, off which almost all climbers fell to be swallowed by the waves? At some point, someone (me) in the crowd, jumped on one leg waiving his hands… I blinked to wet my cornea (us men, only cry on the inside), which made the painted flames of the hell move their tongues in a very realistic way. It was really my family and myself on a holiday.
I left the city so often the last summer (when I was coming back from Soveja with my mother) that I was afraid I could find someone else at home. In the aquatic world (as in our tissues abounding with water) there are many cases of parasitic molluscs living in abandoned shells. However, this was not the case: the calcareous shell of the house was still there, even though it had moved a bit. After all, everybody knows that the desert moves forward stealthily while the waters cut, little by little, painful slices of beach. And then, how to leave when you cannot escape yourself ?! (My little habits blinked gratefully.)
The grave looked just like the hole left from the extraction of the tooth. You could even see the grass on the edges, slightly injured, like pubic hair. This is why, whenever I left, I had to pull myself out of a bloody gum. I always left a void behind. And the hole started to move its lips. Uttering something. When I returned, the objects would always be in a different place. Even if they pretended to be inert (I had some women just like that, in their sleep, while making myself visible on the peak of their dream).
In these kind of situations, I would closely examine my shell to check if its occupied by a parasite that would suck all my biography. (They say that spiders inject flies with a poison that liquefies their abdomen. Then they empty their insides, leaving them stiff, as if they were stuffed.)
Most of the times however, I would find myself, living serenely inside my own body. I would not escape myself. Nevertheless, I would retreat smoothly, because every moment had its own tunnel, which would consume its mouth all the way. It was not good to overlap them.