549b - Alka, the one from the market

translated by my friend AiYiYi

As every week, she came to Split market at dawn. As every week, she came to her fixed place in that tree-lined square where the echoes of tragedy could be hardly heard among the plane tree sheets. To the square, as for her, the echoes still resounded in her eardrums, and also deep inside in her soul.

Time is a great healer, they said. White lies, they say. Time is not a great healer, it only darkens wounds, covers them with a thick layer which make them invisible to others … and they sting deep inside. Sometimes, in her often insomnia she doubted about time. It was a concept she did not understand and she wondered about the necessary amount of exact time, the precise time needed to maintain a minimum hope.

When she looked at her splendid products from her vegetable garden she couldn’t help thinking they had been watered with blood, lots of blood, her family blood. Red, bright red. And what about the smell? For her, they smelt of dynamite. Her eyes still smelt the dynamite from all the houses in the village knocked down to avoid being occupied by the enemy. But what enemies? She wondered, a few days ago all of them were friends, relatives… But everything smelt of dynamite then. And even though her clients appreciated her products, she knew they came from a poisonous soil.

Near the village, unnoticed by the tourists, some white limestones rested, as all the soil was limy there. They were surrounded by a light wired fence. The souls, victims from a ferocious fratricidal war did not rest under them. She did not know who rested there. Nobody knew it. But she knew that somewhere, in a similar place with a white stone on them Branimir and Držimir lay buried, their souls wouldn’t rest, as rest was impossible. Twenty one and twenty three years old, without a future. She also knew she did not have a place to take flowers to her children. What an irony! Her children’s names meant the one who protects peace and the one who keeps peace. Their father, Damir, he who gives peace had named them this way when future was only a promise.

Now, Alka, strength was her name, couldn’t even pray for their eternal rest at church; another victim of the dynamite or the bombs or any other similar thing, it did not matter to her.

And in Split market, while Jadrolinja ferries went continuously in and out , breaking the green jade water from the Adriatic harbor, spewing by their mouths people from all over the world, she looked at her goods, the fruit of her pain.

She was sorrowful flesh, the same as her church was sorrowful stone. Time is a great healer, they said. But it was not true.

And tourists, living unaware of time, a week is not time enough.

Alka: strength, person of a great fortitude.
Damir: To give peace.
Branimir: he who protects peace.
Držimir: he who keeps peace.

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549b·INT036·130119 · Alka, the one from the market ©2013  
712120613-018-Croacia-Alka, la del mercado-©2012
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1 comentario:

  1. Thanks for pointing me here! Hadn't seen it. What powerful writing.