30 Years of Sundays

When Bogdan reads the classifieds, he sucks air in loudly through his teeth. Occasionally, when he finds something interesting, he’ll make farty noises with his lips. Ana, who has sat by his side for 30 years of Sundays, carries on with her knitting as her fury rises and rises until finally she cannot take it anymore. She throws her knitting on to the table, storms into the kitchen and puts on a put of coffee.

“My darling husband,” she says. “Would you like me to cook some nice hot coffee for you?”

But Bogdan continues to wheeze and mouth-fart and doesn’t hear her.

When the coffee is done Ana pours it into the cups that they got from their niece who lives in Bulgaria. She steadies her enraged hands and doesn’t spill a drop. She carries a cup and saucer carefully over to her husband and places it gingerly in front of him on the table.

He doesn’t look up, but absently reaches out his hand to take the cup around its girth. He brings the shaking cup to his lips, takes a slurp and plonks it back half on and half off the saucer. Coffee spills onto the table. Ana watches from the kitchen, sipping her own coffee as she stands by the stove.

Bogdan, finding something very interesting, lets out a spectacular mouth-fart.

Ana clatters her cup and saucer onto the bench.

“I’m going to feed the pigs,” she says, taking up the bucket by the sink. Without a backward glance she goes out the door.

“Oh, for five minutes of peace,” she thinks, boiling up the pigs’ food in the farm kitchen. “Oh for five minutes where I don’t have to think about food and who’s eating what and can just do something for myself without him sitting there being so noisy!” Vigorously she stirs up the slops. “Who would be a woman?”

If Ana had read any Roald Dahl, or any fiction at all, this could be a very different story. She could stab Bogdan to death with her knitting needles, then chop him up and boil him up in the pig slops. No one would ever know. But a woman like Ana has no time for fiction. Women like Ana take what they can get, when they can get it.

Thirty years of Sundays, waiting for a quiet moment to enjoy her knitting in peace.

Bogdan, meanwhile, has discovered something truly interesting. He sucks air in through his teeth so violently it makes his teeth shiver and gives him a pain in the back of his right eyeball. But my, this is something! Someone only twenty kilometres away, in the village that his brother’s wife is from, is selling a kit cottage and the price is… well, the price is almost nothing. He could build it in the shady corner behind the kitchen where nothing grows and then he could have a room to himself. The outlay is small and – think of it! A place where he can go and read his paper on a Sunday afternoon! He could even put in a small stove and cook coffee. His own backyard vikendica.

Ana comes back in and drops the bucket in the kitchen. Bogdan makes several loud farty noises with his lips as he reaches for his cup. Ana sits down at the table, takes up her knitting again and never once contemplates stabbing Bogdan with her needles.

red needles

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