With a bunch of drunk Portuguese guests screeching I’m not Spanish as a backdrop,
Sila sat down at the coffee-stained table
in the hostel kitchen
rubbed at the arm that he’d slept on funny the night before
and tried to read the Chinese on the carton with a substandard lemon pic. One word, lemon, obviously, but the rest of it
and even when Joanna intercepted his brainwaves and said no sugar lemon tea, there was no flinch or tut or bite back in raw Slovene, just a concentrated shift to the stairs leading down to the hostel entrance.
‘Staring will definitely make it happen,’ said Joanna, sucking the carton into disrepair then throwing the remains towards the bin [and missing]. Irritated, she got up and corrected the mistake, saying no to the Portuguese guy trying to hand her a tambourine.
On the couches, in the adjoining communal zone, the rest of the drunks stopped singing. For four seconds. Then started up with a new song, this one in more advanced Portuguese.
Joanna gave it one line before muttering, ‘vai, vai, vai, vai, vai, vai,’ and heading back to her seat.
Sila was still stuck on the stairs, mesmerised.
‘You need a telescope?’ she tried, unsure of her own line.
‘Okay. No telescope.’
Eyes half hazed, she turned and stared at the Santa Sangre poster on the wall for a good seven minutes, mind shifting in soft moves between the film and the director, the setting and a flight back home, family and insanity, a cartoon duck she used to find funny when she was small, that same duck with blood on its beak as a tiny blonde girl bit a human finger off, smiling, in a simulacrum of an adoption office, which in her logical mind she knew was just the façade of immigration.Continue reading