“Lying on a three-piece leather sofa at a psychiatric clinic, Nestor is trying to remember how it came to pass that he should attend that funeral. His psychiatrist, Marta, a successful young woman, has told him to recall every single detail of the funeral in order to evoke the problem.
Nestor is a writer. He has had several unsuccessful novels in his past. His novel Us was chosen as the best novel twenty-five years ago, and several months later Nestor was accused of working against national interests because of the novel. Both when it was chosen as the best novel and at the moment when Nestor was accused of working against national interests, the novel had been completely misinterpreted. It was an autobiographical novel that dealt with his troubled childhood with his hunchback aunt. Many critics thought that his hunchback aunt is actually a symbol of some sorts, so they declared the novel one of the best in the last fifty years. The symbolism was soon revealed by the government, which thought it to be a revolt against it and that Nestor was trying to portray the people through the troubled child and the bad government through the hunchback aunt maltreating the child, that is – the people. Those were times when the government suspected everyone and everything. Despite Nestor’s efforts to prove that the novel had been misinterpreted, that there was no hidden symbolism, nobody believed him. Not even his hunchback aunt, still alive at the time. Soon after the accusation of working against national interests Nestor was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, six of which he spent in prison, and was then released early for good behaviour. After the fall of the regime, the new government re-established his reputation as “the best writer in the last fifty years”. Nestor, however, knew for a fact that it was not so and wanted to justify this error for future generations by writing a real work of art. Not only did he never write a work of art, but after the trial he never wrote a single sentence as well.
After the accusation of working against national interests and spending six years in prison, Nestor began suffering from paranoia; the feeling that someone was following him was constantly present. And now, Nestor, lying on the black leather sofa, as if on a small boat supposed to transport him from the middle to the beginning of the sea, has to recall how it came to pass that he should attend that funeral. He never knew the deceased, nor any of the members of her small family. In a split second, just when he thought he would never recall, a memory opened up before him; it was like peeking through the keyhole into an unknown room when all of a sudden the door opens wide. Nestor could see a woman walking in front of him, with black carnations wrapped in white paper in her hands. Nestor wanted that paper. He had the feeling that that white paper would bring him luck; that on it he would write the first sentence of the novel he so desperately needed. But instead of ending up with the paper in his hands, Nestor ended up following the woman into a chapel. Despite everything, he couldn’t let go of the paper. Just when he thought that he would finally manage to yank the white paper from her in the crowd, there appeared in front of him a large man who took the carnations from the woman. Nestor felt then that someone was watching him. He was afraid to take a look and began walking towards the exit. The eyes watching him walked alongside. And from then on, Nestor couldn’t shake off the feeling that someone was watching him.”
Translated by: Igor Popovski
This post is also available in: Macedonian