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Hristo Karastoyanov


At the very end of the hard summer, when it was so hot that there was that charred smell all around, a woman took an unpaid day off from work: she went to the bank and finally withdrew the three thousand that she and her husband for so long couldn’t decide to take out.

Anyway, she took them out.

She folded them in a piece of plastic, wrapped them around with rubber band, tucked the thin bundle at the bottom of her old bag, and hurried to the bus stop at the other end of the square. Took the first bus wobbling toward the part of town beyond the rotting river. The woman thought she was alert the entire time, held on tight to the bag, and what not, but when she got off and reached inside the bag - she almost fainted!

The money was missing...

She gasped, rushed first after the bus, then dashed towards the phone at the shabby corner, and finally ran home...

Her husband, as soon as he saw his wife entering, scared, oppressed, her hair disheveled, jumped up and asked whether something had happened with that thing... The woman started crying and replied that it was stolen from her... “Crazy woman!" he moaned, “Fucking crazy woman!" he went off at her yelling, then delivering blows everywhere he could. The woman screamed and ran out, then down the urine-covered staircase.

The husband kicked the door closed after her, returned to the kitchen, and the first thing he noticed was the bag, fallen on the linoleum floor.

He hesitated... then leaned over, picked it up fearfully, finally he emptied everything out on the table.

And indeed!

That wrapped with rubber band bundle with the three thousand leva had been there all along!

Sitting on the edge of the crooked chair, staring at the dull plastic sheet with the money inside, suddenly, without even hearing his words, he uttered helplessly: “If she only comes back, if she only comes back!..."



© Hristo Karastoyanov
© Emil Lazarov - translated
© E-magazine LiterNet, 01.09.2008, № 9 (106)