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THEORY OF AGING

Gergana Atanassova

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She lives at the top floor. A small, spineless co-op extended by wash-lines, hidden by the ever-present hanging banners of drying clothes. Children play here and there, negating the architecture, jumping over parapets and shouting in the enigmatically silent corridors. The negation... it only looks like to them, for now...

She knows almost everybody. The man with the beard and the stained shirt from the first floor - he moved in in 1980 and the same stains in his life since then.

The woman with the blond hair in a bun from the ground floor - how her books never finished! - she always has to end reading a book and is never able to put an end to the nincompoop she lives with.

She knows the youngsters from the little apartment with the Parisian window. There is always music coming from the inside, and this girl cries and cries... She would like to ask her, but the their front door is more than bolted - it is always wide open, aghast opening in the dark corridor covered with posters and the steps of accidental people.

On the forth floor she stops but rarely. There lives the wife of the baker. Actually, the baker died twenty years ago. Since then the widow was the ‘wife’ of at least ten men, yet there are labels remaining for life - stauncher than the venereal disease the music student gave her.

As long as she remembers, she is a janitor. Every day the same - from the ground floor to the top, climbing and descending, the fading interest in the gossip, the sharp pain in the hip, the daily vertical ascend, complimented by few groans, the thought about the time, which loosens its belt and secretly stretches the floors in the evening, so to multiply those fancy co-ops near the main street... Is she ascending or descending in life? Does it matter, when one is already at the last floor...

 

 

© Gergana Atanassova
© Vesselin Vesselinov, translated
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© E-magazine LiterNet, 01.08.2006, № 8 (81)