Sunday stories

Usually, he reads his “Mail on Sunday” right in the mornings. Gets out of bed around 7 a.m., hops (maybe not exactly like a child that waits for a surprise) downstairs and gets the newspaper. Makes himself a strong coffee and sits down. Usually. But on his first Sunday as divorcée, things were slightly different. Today, when getting up around 2 p.m., his first way was into the living room; to have a closer look at his former’s wife collection of European short stories. Each of the 20 small books. First the red one, then the greeen one, the blue … and so on. Then taking the blue one, the yellow one, the pink, all of these f* books outside, gently laying them on the lawn, ready for anyone who wants to pick them up. And now it’s evening, a waiter serves him a brandy, and he opens today’s edition of the “Mail on Sunday”. He happens to have choosen the culture page: “Piercing and sad: The 20 best European Short Stories of 2015.”

***

“And I tell you – I saw that one of the curtains in that house moved only a minute ago!” “Fuck up! It’s only a goddamm golden ring that we happened to find on the pavement. Wow, there’s blood on it!” Mel’s good at shocking her younger sister, with invented stories, combined with the right facial expression, but when she has a closer look at the ring, Mel realizes that there’s indeed blood on it. “Forever in Love. J + R”, the inscription says. Fuck, maybe some nutter has killed his wife, and that’s her wedding ring. Mel throws away the ring. “Let’s go!”

***

“You don’t need intelligence. You will have a domestic life, serving your husband and your guests ham-sandwiches and self-made cocktails; non-alcolic, of course. Being present, but staying in the background, listen when the men talk.” Elizabeth remembers her mother’s words when she observes the two girls on the street. If their mother has 20 different lipsticks, for every occasion that a woman might encounter? She shrugs her shoulder when suddenly the two girls run off. It’s Sunday evening and there are no guests, no husband. Only she, with herself – and 20 newly found book of short stories. By authors she never heard of. “You don’t need to know art anyway”, her mother would say now, “art doesn’t feed your husband.” An imaginary husband who Liz doesn’t see/hear/feel/touch. She starts reading when across the street, her neighbour Richard W. returns home, prettily drunk, awaited by an empty bookshelf.

May 2015

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