Ferida Durakovič

(translated by Christopher Merrill & F. Durakovič)

As soon as the SPECIAL BULLETIN appeared on the TV screen, on May 4th 1980, about two in the afternoon, I knew: Tito had died.

Something clicked in my throat. Something tiny, imperceptible, delicate, but it was there. It seemed sad and funny at the same time, but I was ashamed to tell others, so like every other clever village kid I waited to see what they would say, and then I’d follow their lead. Just so I wouldn’t be different, dear God, just so I wouldn’t be different! Just react like all the other normal people, don’t be a misfit—that’s what my mother called me every time I embarrassed her by not wanting to act like other children.

I looked around the crowded, messy student room: everyone was quietly staring at the screen. As if something was about to happen.

"Is that it? Is it over? Poor us," Vinka finally spoke. Vinka the Babe, Vinka with the infinitely green eyes that didn’t know where to look for all their green beauty; Vinka the fool, the lost provincial bird. I always fantasized about her, naturally beautiful and common as she was, not in bed (which was amazing in my case) but walking somewhere in the English countryside in a lamb’s wool sweater, wide white trousers, and riding boots, with hounds sniffing behind her and waiting for her to bare her white teeth and, pointing at a man who did not respond to her charms, shout, "Tear him apart!" "It’s over, thank God," sad Boro, Dana’s boyfriend; Boro-at-Ten-in-the-Morning, a lazy bum who could not be matched by any other in the whole of Yugoslavia. He took a sandwich and chewed and swallowed it in one bite. Like a fat worm, I thought derisively (like the fat limp dick that he is, I thought a moment later), and I saw how the crumbs fell into his beard, and how important this special bulletin was to him—not because of Tito ("Fuck Tito," he’d say, "What’s Tito to me, and what am I to her?"—watching the half-naked Lepa Brena on the screen), but because now Dana will catch a train to Èajnièe to see her folks, and he’ll be left alone, without any hot soup or clean underwear, and how will he manage like that, in any case...?

"Shut up, Boro, will you? I have to call my dad, he’ll have a heart attack," Alma said. Alma, kind Alma, Alma-Little-Body-and-Soul-This-Big: that was our pet name for her until she became mean and joined the dragons, because she read somewhere that you must be mean not to die young, and she was as afraid of dying young as of death itself.

Her father was really something. "Listen, young fella," he’d say to me, "I’m no communist, I’m no anarchist, I’m no capitalist, none of that shit. I’m a photographer! But I love Tito—I do. He pulled this country out of peasant shit! Pray to God it doesn’t drag itself back into peasant shit all over again! When I took Tito’s official picture, in Jajce in ’43, I realized it was so beautiful you couldn’t even look at it. My camera takes in everything, and I made beautiful pictures, but to put Tito in the camera—nope! He was such a great man he couldn’t even fit into my camera!"

Alma grabbed her cigarettes, lighter, and the scrap of paper on which she had written Adem’s number with her fat little fingers. She didn’t forget his number after all, I thought, also thinking how mean I was. But enough about me. For now.

Then Alma disappeared from the story. Ten years later, she told me how she had telephoned her father, how he’d said nothing for so long she thought he’d died with the receiver in his hand. But he hadn’t. See, even Tito’s death can be survived, she said.

Outside, through the window opened just a crack, I saw my plump landlady hanging up laundry and humming. Just like in some fucking folk song about the Balkans, I thought. What a race it will be when our writers start competing to see who will be quicker and who will be better: The giant is dead. Women hang up the laundry and hum: Comrade Tito, we swear a solemn oath to you...

"Well, he’s old, and it was time for him to go, when you think about it," I said, almost not wanting to, as if I didn’t care, as if that click in my throat never happened.

"Well, yeah, but I would’ve given him more," Vinka said, oblivious to what such a line can do to men’s heads. And that’s what happened.

"Oh c’mon, Vinka, you could give it to me instead!" Boro, who else, smacked his fat lips covered with crumbs. Dana was his cover so he could pinch her girlfriends fraternally, bawdily, comradely. "I need it more than Tito does now! Hehehe."

Vinka looked at him with the innocent look of a calf and for a moment I felt kind of sorry for her. Does she really not understand what he’s saying? Hardly. Maybe not the essence, as our philosophy professor liked to say, the one who gazes under Vinka’s skirt while talking about Plato, but the gaze breaks off and returns to his pale useless hands.

"God, Boro, you’re really an idiot sometimes!" There, finally, was the voice of Dana, quiet Dana who, instead of caring for her father and two brothers in Èajnièe, was now taking care of Boro, and her whole life was given over to some free-loader, from her drunken father to Boro, this Boro, who makes even a man like me sick to my stomach when I think of the depth of emptiness in that ox’s head of his.

"Oh c’mon, Dana, I didn’t mean it like that, hey, you’re the one who studies literature, you know the traps of language, fuck it." Boro straightened up, realizing he’d gone too far. He wiped the crumbs from his mouth and stared at the screen.

"Anyway, you say you believe in reincarnation, so why all the fucking misery? There’ll be Tito even when Tito goes away, the soul moves on, right?"

I decide not to say another word. I’m waiting to see what will happen next.

I now leave the cramped student room by means of literary transfer and focus solely on the TV screen years and years after the event.

And the screen shows the same letters: SPECIAL BULLETIN.

And I’m still waiting.

So the nation is under control, the suspense grows, and the old farts deliberate about what to gobble up from tomorrow onward, and who will walk over the dead bodies to his house made of human bones. Is there anything new in this world, my father says whenever they tell him the news. And here I am, feeling somewhere deep inside me that everything has already happened; that this moment in my life has already passed; that my whole life has passed waiting for these new bulletins, which come late and in limited doses; that someone has spent my life instead of me without asking me: I’ve been sitting this whole time in front of the screen and now it’s 2001; I’ve been through many wars, I’m an invalid in my soul and body, I’m already old, I sit and listen to the announcement of a bulletin that makes something click in my throat:


"Fuck all of you," I realize suddenly and say to myself—i.e. to the hoard of people that settled in me after 1980, "all of you can go and fuck yourselves, because TITO HAS ARRIVED IN SPACE! HE CAME FROM AMERICA, PAID THE RUSSIANS WHATEVER IT COST, AND SOARED INTO SPACE!" Q

Čim se na TV ekranu 4. maja 1980. godine oko dva sata popodne pojavio tekst SPECIJALNO SAOPŠTENJE, znao sam: ode Tito.

Nešto mi je kvrcnulo u grlu. Nešto sitno, neprimjetno, tanušno, ali bilo je tu. To mi je bilo i tužno i smiješno istovremeno, ali bilo me je sramota da to kažem drugima, pa sam kao svako pametno seljačko čeljade sačekao da vidim kako će o tome drugi, pa ću onda i ja za njima. Da ne budem drugačiji, Bože moj, samo da ne budem drugačiji! Da reagujem kao drugi, normalni ljudi, da ne budem mimoljud - tako me majka zvala u životu svaki put kad bih je obrukao ne želeći da se ponašam kao sva druga djeca.

Pogledao sam okolo po zagušljivoj razbacanoj studentskoj sobi: svi bulje u ekran i šute. Kao da će nešto dočekati.

- Je l’ to to? Je l’ gotovo? Joj nama - napokon je rekla Vinka. Vinka Dobra Pička, Vinka sa beskrajno zelenim očima koje nisu znale kud da pogledaju od zelenoće i ljepote, Vinka budaletina, izgubljeno provincijsko ptiče, koju sam uvijek, onako seljački lijepu i prostu, umjesto u krevetu (što je za mene nevjerovatno) zamišljao kako šeta nekim engleskim predjelom u lambs wool džemperu, sa bijelim širokim pantalonama, u visokim jahaćim čizmama, a za njom njuškaju lovački psi i čekaju da im pokaže svoje bijele zube i vikne: "Rastrgajte ga!" pokazavši na jedinog muškarca koji ne reaguje na njene čari.
- Jes gotovo, mašala - rekao je Boro, Danin momak; Boro Oko Deset, lijenština kojoj nije bilo paralelnog primjera u cijeloj Jugoslaviji. Uzeo je sendvič i počeo da ga žvaće i vari istovremeno. Kao debela glista, pomislih s prezirom (kao debeli mlohavi kurac, što i jest, pomislih svjetlosnu sekundu nakon toga), i vidim kako mu mrvice zapadaju u bradu, i kako mu je važno to specijalno saopštenje - ne zbog Tita (jebo Tita, imao je običaj reći, šta je Tito meni, a šta sam ja njoj? - gledajući u Lepu Brenu na ekranu) nego zbog toga što će Dana sad na voz pa u Čajniče kod svojih, a on će ostati sam, bez tople supe i čistih gaća, a kako da on to sve sam, uostalom...?

- Ne seri, Boro, majke ti. Moram zvat tatu, srce će ga strefit - rekla je Alma. Alma, dobra Alma, Alma Telo Malo A Duša Ovolika, tako smo joj tepali dok se nije prozlila i prešla u zmajeve jer je pročitala da čovjeku treba da se prozli da ne bi umro mlad, a smrti se bojala kao smrti same.

Tata njen uistinu je bio čudo. Slušaj, momak, govorio mi je, ja nit sam komunist, nit sam anarhist, nit sam kapitalist nit koja govna. Ja sam fotograf! Al Titu da volim - volim. On je ovu zemlji iz seljačkih govana izvuko! Samo daj Bože da se ona sama opet u seljačka govna ne uvuče! A kad sam ja Titu U Jajcu četres treće sliko, po službenoj dužnosti, shvatio sam da je to tolika ljepota da u nju ne mereš ni pogledat. A moj aparat sve prima, i lijepe sam slike pravio, al Titu u aparat smjestit - jok! Toliki je to čovjek bio da čak ni u moj aparat nije mogao stat.

Alma je svojim malim debeljuškastim prstima pokupila sa stola cigarete, upaljač i papirić na kojem je jutros zapisala Ademov broj. Ipak nije zaboravila Ademov broj, pomislih, istovremeno pomislivši kako sam zao. Toliko o meni. Zasad.

Alma je onda nestala iz ove priče. Deset godina poslije pričala mi je kako je telefonirala tati, kako je tata šutio u slušalicu, šutio i šutio toliko dugo da joj se učinilo da je umro sa slušalicom u rukama. A nije. Vidiš, i Titova smrt se može preživjeti, rekla je.

Napolju, kroz odškrinut prozor, vidio sam svoju tustu gazdaricu kako prostire rublje i pjevuši. Baš kao u kakvoj jebenoj pjesmi o Balkanu, pomislih. Što će nam se pisci sad utrkivat ko će prije i ko će bolje:

Umro je div. Žene steru rublje i pjevuše: Druže Tito, mi ti se kunemo...

Onda vratih oči na ekran. Još su čekali da naciji kažu ono što je ona znala već mjesecima.

- Pa ima on godina, i vrijeme mu je, kad se malo bolje razmisli - kažem, nekako preko volje, kao da mi nije stalo i da nije bilo onog kvrc u grlu maloprije.

- Pa jest, ali ja bih mu dala još - Vinka će, potpuno nesvjesna onoga što njena rečenica može izazvati u muškim glavama. A tako i bi.

- Ma hajde, Vinka, mogla bi ti dat meni umjesto njemu - mljacnu debelim usnama prekrivenim mrvama ko drugi nego Boro, kojem je Dana bila pokriće da štipka njene koleginice gdje stigne, onako bratski, kurvanjski, drugarski. - Meni sad to treba više nego Titi! Hehehe.

Vinka ga pogleda telećim nesvjesnim pogledom i nešto mi je u trenutku bi žao. Je l' ona stvarno ne shvata šta govori? Teško. A može bitak i da ne, kako kaže naš profesor filozofije, koji pričajući o Platonu gura svoj pogled ispod Vinkine suknje, a pogled se otima pa se vraća na njegove blijede beskorisne ruke.

- Bože, Boro, baš si ponekad kreten - eto se oglasi najzad i Dana, tiha Dana koja je, umjesto o ocu i dva brata u Čajniču, sad brinula o Bori, i čitav život su je jahali ili koristili neki lezihljebovići, od oca pijanca do Bore, ovog i ovakvog, i meni se, muškarcu, prevrće u stomaku od njega kad samo pomislim na dubinu praznine u toj volovskoj glavi.

- Ma daj, Dano, nisam ja tako mislio, pa ti barem studiraš knji#382;evnost, znaš kakve zamke krije jezik, jebaji ga - uspravi se Boro, svjestan da je pretjerao, dlanom skloni mrvice sa usta i upilji se u ekran. - Uostalom, svi tvrdite da vjerujete u reinkarnaciju, pa čemu onda ova jebena tegoba? Biće Tite i kad ode Tito, duša se seli, kolko ja znam, jelde.

Ja odlučim da ne kažem više ni riječ. Čekam da vidim šta će biti dalje.

Ostavljam tijesnu studentsku sobu metodom literarnog transfera, i fokusiram se samo na ekran televizora.

A na ekranu ista slova: SPECIJALNO SAOPŠTENJE.

I još čekam.

Nacija je, znači, pod kontrolom, napetost raste, a prdonje vijećaju ko će šta poklopit od sutra pa nadalje, i ko će preko mrtvih preći u svoju malu kuću od ljudskih kostiju.

Ima li išta na ovom svijetu novo, kaže moj otac kad god mu saopšte neku novu vijest, pa evo i ja, negdje u dubini, osjećam da je već bilo sve što će se desiti, i da je ovaj trenutak moga života već prošao, i da je i moj život prošao u tom čekanju na nove vijesti, koje stižu sa zadrškom i u odredenim dozama, da je neko potrošio moj život umjesto mene a da me ni za što nije pitao: ja sve ovo dugo vrijeme sjedim pred ekranom, a sad je 2001. godina, prošao sam nekoliko ratova, invalid sam u duši i u tijelu, star sam već prerano, sjedim i slušam najavu za vijest od koje mi nešto kvrcnu u grlu:


Jebite se svi vi, odjednom shvativši kažem sam sebi, tj. onoj gomili ljudi koja se smjestila u mene nakon 1980, - svi se vi možete jebat, jer TITO JE STIGAO U SVEMIR! DOŠAO IZ AMERIKE, PLATIO RUSIMA ŠTA KOŠTA I VINUO SE U SVEMIR! Q