Sometimes I Forget
Written by: Tamara Lujak
Translated by: Mihajlo Stojković
Sometimes I forget that I am sad and alone, and that nobody loves me. Sometimes I forget that everybody abandoned me, turned their backs on me, erased me; that I am doomed to spend my days on this earth alone, in a two by two room, in which I myself can barely fit, let alone a bed with shelves. I need nothing more: a bed on which I can rest my head weary from thought, and a couple of books which keep me company on days of unbearable solitude, such as this one.
Sometimes the Sun and the Moon with the stars, press onto me, sometimes the clouds and the chilly night air bother me, and then I would think how there isn’t a hole deep enough which I could hide in and wither away. I strengthened, as they warned me would happen. The world is cruel, they said, even though it looks tame and rousing, but I didn’t listen. I had faith in human kind and I wanted to help it, taste it, experience it, touch it.
Oh, how I experienced it indeed!
Nobody has understanding for us, they told me. Even if they believe in us, even if they sometimes call out to and pray to us, they still don’t accept us. Be it from fear or jealousy, they did not know how to explain it to me. But I was silly enough to look into it myself. I thought that if I went among people, everything would be different. They would be thrilled, jump for joy, embrace me with all their love and I would be happy and blissful as I had been in heaven.
But, how terribly wrong was I!
The first thing they did when they uncovered my true nature, when they found out about my true origin, was hinder me, bind me and make me unable to fly. They bound my wings, tied me around the neck and led me with chains through the dusty city streets. They displayed me as some circus freak to the people, they spat at me, threw mud, rotten fruit and vegetables, and anything they could get their hands on; the kids plucked my shiny white feathers and hid them in their chests, thinking how they would too fly one day, while their mothers condemningly scolded them for blaspheming at God – because beings like myself shouldn’t, and weren’t allowed to exist!
An angel on Earth, who else saw such a thing? Where else does it appear? Did God really allow such a being to descend among people, mix with them and soil its wings? If he allowed the descent, did He really only send me? Why didn’t others come after me? Why do we live in the heavens, far from human eyes, from human sight, why did we never visit or fight for them during history – when we love them so much? Those and similar questions showered over me, along with the merciless pelting of hits and beatings.
When they finished with the public mocking and stoning, they plucked me like a chicken, broke and burned my wings, and left me to bleed in the mud and mire in the middle of the dirty run-down city square. The rain poured down on me relentlessly.
I lied curled up on the cold pavement, watching the angry mob leaving, content that they reduced me to being one of them, that they destroyed the only good I had to give, because all my power rested in my wings. Just as Samson’s strength resided in his hair, so did my power swell out from my wings. Without them, I couldn’t have returned home. But, what home would I have returned to? Heaven? Would it take me in being stained, soiled and beaten like this?
For two days I lied on the square. For two days I bled. When I finally mustered the strength to get up and drag myself to my room, the very one in which I spend my miserable days on earth, there was nobody to see me off with a look, to lend me a hand, to be a support.
For weeks I treated my wounds, and when I noticed that I had healed and that my wings finally began to grow, I singed them with fire myself. They couldn’t grow again, not until I atone for my sins – arrogance, because I thought I could bring happiness to people, and conceit, because I believed that they would admire and accept me, only because I had wings.
When I atone for my sins, then and only maybe heaven might take me back. Until then I would have to endure and inflict pain to myself, to soil my wings, to cut my own wounds, until I heal, first spiritually, and then physically. How long it would last, I couldn’t have known, because… I… forget things…
And so, sometimes, I forget where I came from and why I am here. Sometimes I forget that I am sad and alone, and that nobody loves me. Sometimes I forget that everybody abandoned me, turned their backs on me, erased me. Sometimes, only sometimes, I forget…
Tamara Lujak (1976, Belgrade), writes short stories, aphorisms, epigrams, haiku poetry, literary displays etc. She works as a translator. She is a writer, journalist, collaborator and editor of various journals. Her work was published in journals and collections. Her work was translated into English, Polish, Hungarian, German, French and Burmese. She runs a creative writing workshop “Rec i glas” and organizes literary events of the BG Storytelling club “Rec i glas” with Milica Cincar Popovic, and holds the “Iz iskre – reci” book discussion at the Association of Writers of Serbia with Gordana Petkovic. She is one of the instigators of the ecological art project “Cisto i bistro” at the Kopaonik Mountaineering association. She is the founder of the website Beleg. She has published short story collections Vilina planina (2006), Priče sa oblaka(internet edition, Projekat Rastko, 2012; printed edition, Mladenovac, 2016), aphorism collections Citanje, uslovzivljenja(internet edition, Projekat Rastko, 2012), Recnik straha(Mladenovac, 2014) and Kako se plase deca(fairytales about monsters, Mladenovac, 2015). Received the award of the Royal literary club “Karadjordjevic” for the best aphorism in 2006, the award of the literary club of ”Mrkonjić Grad” (2011) for the most challenging aphorism with the subject “S čim u Evropu”. Winner of the third place award of the Artistic Society “Multi Art” from Zrenjanin (2006), third place award of the literary club of ”Mrkonjić Grad” (2011) for the most original fable, first place at the “Sva lepota sveta” (2006), first place award of the Citizens’ Association “SCI&FI” for her short stories (2006) and the Golden Ghoul award of the Academy for Horror (2016) for the best Serbian horror book in 2015.
Translator Mihajlo Stojković – was born on the 20th of March 1998 in Pozarevac where he graduated from the High School of Economics and Commerce. Despite the fact it being a vocational school, he decided to continue his education at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, where he is currently a third-year student of the English Department. He participated and was a finalist in the English Department Short Story Competition. Upon finishing his studies, he wish to become an English language teacher and eventually write a book.
Translation edited by: Dejan Mujanović