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Articles tagged "Aging"

The Baghdad Clock

I never feared them nor did they ever do anything to frighten me. They were there, next to the stove, mixed up with the crackling of firewood, the taste of freshly baked bollos, the to-and-fro of the old women’s skirts. I never feared them, perhaps because in my imagination they were pale and beautiful, listening as we did to the stories that took place in nameless hamlets, waiting for the right moment to let themselves be heard, to whisper to us wordlessly: “We’re here,...

Social Skills

The Dodge Dart parked on the crosswalk with its right front wheel up on the curb and the fender touching the lamppost. Doña Mercedes, sitting in the passenger seat, opened the door and let out a snort. “Your driving is getting worse and worse, Hija. You’re really showing your age,” she said, although Felisa was eighteen years her junior. Felisa was Doña Mercedes’s maid, cook and, when necessary, driver. Petite, somewhat hunched, with a mousy face,...

from “Reunion”

Image description

Don't move. You're bleeding.

Destitutes Compound

At the time I left home for good I must have been around twenty-two or twenty-four years old. What prompted me to leave was my father’s attitude. He complained that I’d developed bad habits. When I think about it now, it seems he was right to complain, and he was also right to try and find out on his own how I was spending my time. Back then, though, I thought it was all rather unfair and I used to complain to my mother about it. What galled me the most was that whenever he...

from “As Far As We Can See”

In other words, the young man concluded, even an intelligent person can happen to say something stupid now and then! He paused briefly, then continued in the same self-assured tone of gentle pleasantry: My God, I suppose the inverse is probably true as well . . . He stopped himself again. But, he said, lowering his voice just slightly, we have yet to hear the opinion of Professor Berlingieri. The insult was so unexpected and brutal that numerous eyes from both sides of the...

Gob

I saw her again today. She came out from the liquor store in Majorstua, the bottles pushed down into a worn brown bag, and I sensed shame, shame is the only word I can use—shame. It was twenty years since I’d seen her last. Georg and I had been to the Frogner Baths. We’d taken the plunge from the tenth board for the first time and were a bit sore. But we were walking on air—by heck were we—we were world champs. Some girls from the same year at school had been standing by the...

Mr. Beneset

Mr. Beneset’s son arrives at the geriatric home and greets the girl at reception: a nice, sensible girl who was, in fact, the one who, when he was looking for a home for Mr. Beneset, tipped the balance and led him to pick this one and not the other one, in Putxet, which he’d also liked. She and Mr. Beneset’s son chat about this and that. About life in general, about Easter Week, which is fast approaching, about the newly asphalted road and about how Mr. Beneset has been...

Shave

Observe yourself in the mirror, unchanged yet strange, still shaggy with sleep, startled at seeing your likeness. These wrinkles, these graying temples that you’ve already accepted gracefully —affable guests who showed up so suddenly, that you can’t quite recall            just when they initially appeared. They represent the shameless price required for this fictitious intimacy with the body. And now, begin to...

How Old is the Queen of England?

The old dog lumbers beside me, exhaling and inhaling laboriously and tracking my steps with her bowed head turned white with old age. Owls perch on the branches canopying the path, against the indigo background of the darkening sky. They give us sideways glances and emit long whistles like rubber toys. Their eyes are open in wonderment. It's a familiar route. It begins at the breach in the concrete fence, shortly before sunset, and ends at the exact same place half an hour later. A...

From “Mezzanine”

The pages that follow were found by me in a sorry state of disorder, amidst a number of other worthless papers, spotted with tropical mildew, ready for the fire, in the basement of a bookstore where I worked for a number of years as a classifier. What follows is the personal history, and last-minute confessions, of a man and his ways. Before presenting this book to the Greek world of letters, I feel it necessary to publicly thank, in these very flat lines, Mr. Realon Delorean, an old...

The Well is Someone’s Home

each time i dig into the well i never reach the bottom. i pass endless broken fragments of age. my breath is too short to climb all the way down, and my gaze too blind to fathom the top. hundreds of prayers fall to earth turning into songs among the barely audible bells. i call to myself as i disappear in thick dreams. i answer in restless whispers. painful moans write a biography of torn wounds for the scattering sands. have i dug so far and deep? only so that my womb can preserve a...

Summer

She stopped in front of a shop window full of umbrellas, and her friend, who was walking ahead of her, suddenly turned around: "Carme, we'll get separated!" Her name was Carme. He had followed them all the way from Travessera de Gràcia—the street where he had worked for eleven years—to Pàdua. Now, as he leaned over the railing on the balcony off the gallery, he could still see the sheer, pearl-gray dress with the very pale pink—almost...

Over the River

The river was as wide as a lake, a sea, or a plain. The village at the foot of distant mountains over the river would have seemed more illusory had it not been for a few green dots on the bank—lonely willow trees that brought the distant village nearer. Water as smooth as brocade flowed with boundless dignity toward somewhere over the horizon. The poor village on this side of the river had seventy-odd households, their shabby stone houses scattered along the slope. Yak dung...

Light

After the rain, the clouds shrank and the sky shone silver. The phone would ring any minute now. I was standing over the receiver when its shrill snarl echoed in the room. "How are you?" "Fine. And you?" "Fine." "Any news?" "The same. And you?" "Same here too." "Did you think it over?" "I thought it over." "Well?" "I don't know, we'll see." We hung up and each took a sip of coffee, in her own kitchen, standing in front of her own window, feeling guilty for...

Shadows across Frosted Glass

For Biby Castellaro Time is so complicated, yet so simple! Now I'm in the living room sitting in the rocking chair, and I can see Leopoldo's shadow in the bathroom while he begins to undress. It seems so simple to think about right now, but when I face the expanse of that now, I immediately realize how weak memory really is. Memory is a tiny little part of every now, and all the rest of that now is nothing but memory's illusion—darting and fleeting too quickly to ever...

Calendar

Twelve knots are losing patience around the eyebrows of the year to come. No one knows if he will live until December 31. It's barely August. But the brown light of March feels like intensely running late. October better get a grip. Wednesday was drowned in the scrapings of December, but it's rumba Saturday with Brazilian music. When will it begin to happen, the long-awaited, incessant loosening of knots? Somebody or other is asking himself while time goes by,...

from “Seven Moral Failings”

Now was the time to ask for a recommendation from David. In fact, he had already intended to raise the subject at their morning meeting, but then that student had appeared, whose name, he discovered, he had forgotten again, and the whole matter had dissolved. He really had to find supplementary sources of income, now that he'd retired. He couldn't depend only on his pension. That was especially true in New York, where the cost of living had become intolerable. Fisher planned to...

The Pig

Asbjørn Hall was admitted to an Oslo hospital on December 4th, 2003, for an intestinal operation, a rather unpleasant business no one would look forward to. But Asbjørn Hall was seventy-eight and had never been ill before, barring minor complaints such as colds, toothache, and the occasional hangover. For that reason he realized now this was no more than to be expected; that's not saying he saw this as some punishment for a long and godless life—no, Asbjørn...

Hai Phong

Yellow lamps, prostitutes' eyes Lines of sad provincial poems On a farewell afternoon, yellow leaves are falling Ocean winds have no ports or borders Ocean clouds go their own way Like dates, the harbors have no names In the Lap River the tide rises Fishing boats go and come Someone waits at the Binh ferry for someone A smile is blurred by cement-plant smoke The people of Hai Phong are like sea-wind and sun Off they go, with the dawn Their footprints cover the...

Old Man with Garden at the Rear End of Time

In the Dona Berta garden, there's a bench. The only one left. All the others have been torn up, turned into loose planks bound for firewood. On this last remaining bench there lives an old man. Every night, seat and man, wood and flesh, cuddle up together. It's said the old man's got stripes on his skin, patterned by the shape of the planks, his outer skeleton. The elderly gentleman has been given a name: Vlademiro. He's been named after the avenue that passes by there,...

At 30

The first ten years of my life, as the moon exposed its silent craters to my small city far below, the streets filled with shouts, gongs and drums drove out devils, my lame uncle cursed in the yard, and careless, I got kissed by the white rooster's beak. A little girl pulled her pants down before me, and once I ran into the ghost of a suicide on the stairs, but my father raised me high overhead and told me not to fear. Hailstones bounced their lives out on the walk to the...

The Golem in the Mirror

I dreamed of Prague at night. It looked the way each of us to whom the words "Old City" speak at least a little would imagine. I knew the Golem had returned, and I ran through the streets hoping to find it. The rain had just passed and "the wet eaves glimmered like sabers," I thought to myself in my sleep. Ahead of me flickered a yellow body, obviously soft, like something made of dough. I was surprised how quickly it moved, and I dashed down a narrow alley to cut off its path. The Golem...

The Referee

Fernström would remember later that he had been thinking back to his own playing career while driving through the city that morning. He had felt restless all autumn, but without understanding why. The previous evening, after an early dinner, he told Marjut and Jere that he needed a breath of fresh air, and then he got into the old dark blue Escort, even though he had drunk several glasses of wine with the fish. He had driven from their home in Alppila down to the beach between...

The Bonsai’s Boast

I, you mindless fools, am a pint-sized giant. Time passes me by, distance can't touch me, my breast is pure coral. All I need is water and thirst to decode the book of life. True greatness is in detail. For the author's "Spying," please click here.

My Fallow Years

When I grow old, in however many three-month intervals, I'll gain more and more disabilities, cognitive and otherwise. I'll always be on edge and I'll always be thinking that it's late, too late, everything's now behind me. When I grow old, over and over again I won't be able to remember what I'd been told only a minute ago. Dazed, I'll stop in the middle of the street and ask myself where it was that I was going. At home I won't know why I'd...

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