Blatnik Andrej:
The Day Tito Died

    It was a Sunday, quite warm, in the afternoon we had been playing frisbee in the street. Then I went in and sat down in front of the TV, and as soon as I heard the music they were playing I knew. I was alone at home, waiting for my mother and father to come home, and in my uneasiness I went to the kitchen and cut myself a slice of bread, I chewed it slowly, the primeval monotonous rhythm of my jaws somehow pacified me. When my mother and father arrived I was just munching the last bite. We sat down at the table and didn’t talk, at about ten o’clock in the evening the telephone rang, they were calling me to come to school, and I didn’t know what would happen next, my mother and father didn’t know either, I put on clean pants and my best shoes and went to school. Some of my teachers and fellow students were there, at first they looked at me strangely, then they said they’d called me because they thought it might be necessary to prepare a commemoration and I was good at those things, but now they’d changed their minds, there would be no commemoration and I could go home. I went home, there was no one in the streets, and at home I got together a few books of partisan and revolutionary poetry in case they still wanted a commemoration the following day, then I lay down on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Only about a year later I learned that right after I’d left home my mother called the school and told them I was ill and they were to leave me alone whatever it was they were doing. That’s why they invented the commemoration, sent me home and did whatever it was they were doing without me; what it was I still don’t know to this day.

Translated by Tamara Soban