Thirty years later she told me she had had 3 illegal abortions. I also had a sister for a year, but I was two, and when I searched my memories from those times, all I could remember was a scene during which I held tightly to my grandmother’s hand as she took me down some concrete stairs into the newsroom of a sports daily. In the giant room filled with sputtering typewriters, I saw a man spin a hula hoop around his midriff while he smoked. When we approached him, I noticed two large sweat marks under his arms. He smelled like spoiled buttermilk. He picked me up by my neck and told my grandmother that I was growing like a beanstalk. And then he called me Sandy.
This sister I had developed spinal meningitis and died a few months after she was born. She was buried somewhere on the outskirts of the city, next to a gypsy camp that made its living by selling hot corn on the cob from buckets, and pickpocketing unsuspecting functionaries. I felt nothing for her, however. Despite being blood, she was merely a story or a part of a confession being given in another country, over several cups of fancy coffee at an establishment with an outdoor patio next to a cobblestoned street. In my mind, she materialized as a flock of pigeons shitting on a bronze statue of a famous poet in the middle of a park in which I used to play. In front of that same statue of that famous poet, a German couple once approached me when I was a child and snapped a Polaroid picture of my face. They made strange signs with their hands and grunted instructions that required me to shake the photo and wait a bit until the image came into focus. The pigeons settled on the poet’s head, shat down his face, and took off. And that was my sister’s brief life. Minutes later, I lost the Polaroid during a footrace from a policeman who was looking to hit me with his blackjack, because I had crossed over a forbidden grassy area.
“There were complications with two of the abortions, but I was lucky that I could be attended to by a very good doctor. And he only took a carton of Kent and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red.”
Photo By: Marko Savic
You hit the ground running with your first sentence and never stopped. Thanks for a good read.
Thank you, sir.
I really like this a lot.
Thanks so much Shannon.