About / O:
Excerpt of Anna Augustyniak’s novel “Kochałam, kiedy odeszła” published in Poland by Wydawnictwo Nisza in 2013.
Fragment powieści Anny Augustyniak “Kochałam, kiedy odeszła” wydanej w Polsce przez Wydawnictwo Nisza w 2013 roku.
Excerpt / Fragment:
“I loved him.” I looked at my mother. Did she understand that? She didn’t turn her head, didn’t open her eyes. She was going through something. “I loved him”, I tried again. “And he loved me too, you know?” No answer, my mother was busy dying. When a person is busy dying, they have no time for other things. Now I know it. But then it seemed like there was still time for everything. Talk to her, it boomed in my head. “Do you remember how much he meant to me? You were there with me from the very beginning, from the day when I went to see him. I came an hour early. Fortunately I had my blue sheepskin on. The snow squeaked under my feet. I walked back and forth in front of his house and when I finally climbed upstairs at 8 p.m., he called out: ‘One could set the clocks according to you, you are bang on time.’ I brought him a sunflower. No idea why. It had such large, yellow petals. I found one on the stairs on my way out. Like a fallen tear. I didn’t feel like crying. Maybe a bit, because I was so happy. I took a taxi back home, I was like a Cinderella in her pumpkin carriage, my eyes full of fuzzy streetlight. These were my stars. They lit up suddenly when Amad kissed me. He dipped his tongue in me without a word. And I ran away. Do you know why, Mum?” Mother said something. Not to me. I took a risk: “Really, Mum?” She confirmed. She was in a different world. They brought fruit compote. I fed her with a spoon, didn’t want her to choke. Look, it smells like ripe sour cherries. She made a move, as if she was getting a whiff of it. She did it for me. Still demonstrating that she was with me. Not me with her, but the other way round. She didn’t open her eyes anymore, but that wasn’t necessary. And anyway our communication was mainly limited to grumbling. She didn’t open her eyes ever again until she died.
A flower appeared on your skin, Mum. A dark rose of death blossomed on the left hand side of your neck. As if you had a tattoo there. Quite pretty, actually. We had a good look with my sister. She touched it with her finger. Nobody else paid any attention to the rose. Everybody was looking at your lips, wishing you to smile. To say that you were not in pain anymore, that you were feeling better. It was supposed to give them relief. That’s why they came, to comfort themselves. My sister would like to keep you: “If she could just lie in the coffin, I could come every day, caress her and neaten her hair. I brought a brush and a hairspray.” We started combing your hair. It was not easy, your hair was dirty, as if soaked with something sticky. But my sister insisted. She combed your fringe, brushed strands behind the ears, then released them and I sprayed it with hairspray from a distance. Cover her eyes, I said, and then I thought that hairspray wouldn’t sting the eyes of the dead. By my sister covered them tightly with both hands.
ORIGINAL TITLE / TYTUŁ ORYGINALNY
Kochałam, kiedy odeszła
AUTHOR / AUTOR
PUBLISHED BY / WYDAWCA
YEAR OF PUBLICATION / ROK WYDANIA