by Danica Borisavljevic

First, second, third, I just started and I’m already upset by numbers that always go in perfect order, she didn’t come today, she didn't come yesterday, but yesterday I caught a glimpse of her in a ray of sunshine dancing in a glass of water, today there is no sun and there is no her, fifteen, sixteen, this whiteness blinds me, there must be some crack in the wall but I don’t have time to find it because eight steps from one side of the room is not enough to find the crack that will destroy this whiteness, twenty-two, twenty-three, this silence makes me deaf, you know, I can swear that she wanted to come yesterday but something stopped her, the silence is horrifying while I wait for her, while I’m waiting for her voice that can cut through like a knife, thirty-three, thirty-four, why do I always have a feeling that I’m walking on the edge, one wrong step and I can fall and if I fall and she came and saw that I am gone, I don’t know how long she’s been gone, but I know that she can come again at any moment, forty-four, forty-five, this floor is full of symbols, they keep telling me “go left, go right,” you know, this floor is lying like a dog, he points to the door asking to go out, I want to, sometimes I laugh like crazy because this floor points to the door too often, it is funny that he doesn’t know that she can come today, and I feel that, fifty-five, fifty-six, I’m walking in complete silence, so I can hear when she comes, I walk almost as soundlessly as that day when I thought that I heard knocking on the door, unbelievable, but the rhythm of the knocking was the same as the rhythm of my steps, I said that I thought it was her but I didn’t run fast enough to the door, she wasn’t there and her absence gripped me so strong that I couldn't breathe, the air so thick with desire, sixty-sixty, sixty-seven, somebody may say that here I have plenty of time to remember, but I don’t have enough time to think about soft red velvet on a clean cold bed, warm as blood, or was it blood on a bed red as a velvet, I don’t know, but sometimes while waiting for her I find time for that moment when I saw her for the first time, it was a huge crowd, some kind of celebration and her in all those colors and the noise, almost floating in her own atmosphere, not even sharing the air with that horrible crowd, her head slightly angled and her eyes on a small bundle she was holding tightly against her breast, seventy-seven, seventy-eight, and of course I recognized her immediately, I recognized that specific glow like liquid gold running through her pale veins instead of blood and that perfect grace that transforms all things around her into jaws full of sharp teeth, maybe a little bit younger than in the paintings but it was her no doubt, eighty-eight, eighty-nine, and then, after some confused smile she let me visit her on Saturday afternoons, I kneeled more than ever in front of that painting of her, I kneeled with passion, with the desire to be that baby in her arms transformed to this ripened desire of a man for a woman, ninety-nine, one-hundred, she must come to finish what she started to tell me, and when I can’t bear her presence anymore, I will embrace her with a strength of all those years, not knowing if I am holding her, if it were a dream, or both, filled with an absolute love compressed under its own pressure of impossibility, a love that cannot even be erased by the warm red velvet covering us both and stopping her in the middle of her sentence, it stopped her arms and let them slowly fall against her body.

Translated from Serbian by the author
Photo courtesy of Kristína Kliská

Caitlyn Garcia