Kostadin Pampov

Short Story

THE PICTURE

1.11(73 votes)

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THE CIGARETTES

Translated by: Гергана Златкова

1.15   (82 votes)

My father worked on a cow farm as a forager. His work was hard. Many men came to try and most left quickly.

    Along with my father, however, one was remaining permanently. His name was Iliya, but no one called him that. Everyone addressed him condescendingly, calling him Lisho.

    It often happened that I helped my father and I was witnessing the relationship between him and this man.

     It seemed to me that Lisho's pocket money was not always enough for him. Even for the cheap cigarettes he smoked. It was common for him to turn with seeming rudeness to my father and ask him for a cigarette. Dad, also seemingly angry, replied that he was giving him two, but for the last time.

      I listened to this dialogue every day, many times at that. I was so used to it that I took the exchange of lines between the two of them as a game.

  My father died ten years before Lisho. It was early spring. We laid the coffin with his body on a table in the yard, under the asma (vine arbor). Relatives and friends came and left flowers.

        It must have been towards the end of this ritual, when Lisho approached the coffin. He was searching the pockets of his long suit, until he found two packs of cigarettes. He did not cross himself, did not shed tears. He placed the two boxes by my dead father's head and stood somewhat peculiarly silent. Then, wondering where to go to make room for other people, he said something, but very quietly. I only heard that he was leaving the cigarettes to have my father There (beyond).

     Lisho's words are among the few things I remember from the day of the funeral.

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