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David’s Child

2012.01.14 Няма коментари
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                                                                                         By  Lyubomir Nikolov

 

I was roaming the basements near the Arts Academy, looking for David. From the depths of smelly holes pretending to be shops, chubby saleswomen shrugged me off. ”Oh, David isn’t here. Nobody has seen him since that woman butchered his canvasses.“, said one. ”Who knows, he may even be dead“, opinionated another. Nobody knew a thing.

I was searching for David because a friend of mine wished to buy his paintings with the cross-eyed child. The very ones Sonya destroyed with a knife. Everyone here knew the story – every painter, everyone who sheltered in the basements, every saleswoman’s lover had heard it and passed it along further. During the second day after David’s exhibition opened, Sonya had sneaked into the gallery and cut to pieces the paintings with the cross-eyed child. It was their child with David, as she said. Most of the paintings were of her and the child. Sonya hugging the baby, or breastfeeding him, or pulling his hair, and even holding the child upside down by his feet. The baby was about a year and a half old, intelligent, with sharp, penetrating eyes. Eyes like fish-hooks – biting, drilling, never letting go. But the baby was cross-eyed. Just a little bit cross-eyed, Sonya thought, but in David’s paintings there was a horribly cross-eyed child, painted without a trace of love, coldly, as if it was a still-life composition, say, a carcass of a rabbit next to a bottle of Burgundy in a basket. When Sonya saw the old gallery guard napping on his chair, she ripped the paintings with a scalpel and ran away. The guard did not noticed.

The next day David went to the gallery and started stitching up the remains. He sewed them coarsely with a needle and tread, the way one repairs an old sack, not a painting. Now the baby looked even worse – more like a patient after brain surgery. The coarse stitches made mother and child ugly and painful, like people going through terrible suffering, broken down, beaten beggars. The visitors detain longer in front of restored paintings. People asked who the child was, they were strangely attracted. Determined to prevent new damage, David appointed additional security. He instructed the guards by showing the paintings to them: they had to watch out for the woman depicted. Had to remember her face, so as to be able to recognize her if she came again. Then the stupidest guard asked: ”And the kid? Are we to watch out for the kid too?“

”What a douchebag!“, snapped David, ”The baby barely walks yet and isn’t mine.“

 

Vesselin Vesselinov, C. Hasbrouck, translated

 

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Feet biographical information for Lubomir Nikolov

Lyubomir P. Nikolov lives and writes in Sofia, Bulgaria. His publications include a non-fiction book on psychology, a collection of short stories in Bulgarian (2010) and in English (“David’s Child”, 2011), and various appearances in Bulgarian anthologies and magazines, both SF and mainstream. Among his literary awards are a second place in a national short story competition (2006), the 2008 Chudomir Award for humorous prose, and a nomination for the Helikon Bookstore Chain Award for his Bulgarian collection (2010).

 

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