THE STORY OF MILA AND MARKO
Marko lived in the attic of a sixteen-storey building in Aerodrom, the most densely populated suburb of Skopje. Whenever he woke up, he would get the feeling that he was neither down on earth nor up in the heavens.
Marko was 30 years of age… He liked collecting cinema and theatre tickets and writing short messages on their back. He was a person who loved taking his lover’s blouse secretly, while she was away, and plunging his face in it. He enjoyed it when, while wandering around town, he would suddenly stop in the middle of the street and let the city stroll through him. He had a wish he was certain he’d never see come true: to build a house and an enormous garden with trees arranged in such a way that, seen from high above, they would comprise a letter for the sky from the earth…
And he possessed a certain skill. A skill no one knew nothing about.
The skill to turn into any object he would pick.
A telephone that persists in keeping quiet when you most expect it to ring. A shop window’s surface that reflects someone’s quick touch at three after midnight. A broken umbrella, left on a bench after a heavy summer rain. A wall soaked in the shrieks of lovers who no longer love each other. A hotel room table filled with scattered objects, witnesses of a world that vanishes in less than 24 hours. A chair broken asunder, left in the backyard of a school. A lighter carelessly left near a plastic petrol flask. An ashtray filled with cigarette butts that tell the story of the length of the successful meeting. Such everyday, ordinary objects.
He just needed to decide and… he would immediately turn into the desired object.
But Marko used his power rarely, almost never.
Because he was a person who thought that the greatest powers are given only to be used as less as possible. Like a stingy poet who writes only a few poems a year, like a genius musician who decides to interpret some incredibly complicated piece only once in their life, like a superb traveller who prepares for the one journey from which he may never return.
Until he met Mila, the reason for a thousand future transformations.
When asked to describe herself, Mila would always give a carefully prepared answer.
– A thirty-year-old bank clerk in the loan division of the biggest bank in Macedonia… I have a distinctive retro trait: I like collecting cinema and theatre tickets and writing short messages on their back. Then there’s another trait, probably inherited from my childhood in Skopje in the 1980s: I love taking my lover’s blouse secretly, while he is away, usually in the toilet, and plunging my face in it. I love it when, while wandering around town, I suddenly stop in the middle of the street to take in the scent that is spreading around me. I have a wish I’ll probably never fulfil–but aren’t those the best wishes?–to build a house with an enormous garden, with trees arranged in the form of a letter that the sky reads to the earth…
Translated and edited by Igor POPOVSKI
This post is also available in: Macedonian