Minutes earlier, Galia had felt like an enormous pimple on the face of the crowd. She had been certain that no matter how many people were there, Dean would see her, would single her out, adding to a disgrace that was already complete. Now, things had shifted, and she began to fear that he would miss her. As her disappointment grew — over Dean’s ugliness, Laura’s duplicity, the betrayal of friends — so too did her desperation grow to connect with him once more. She was standing on her toes, struggling to see him, willing him to see her, when Petya leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Do you think they have sex?”

Galia cannot think of Petya without remembering that moment. How shocked she had been to feel Petya’s breath on her ear and to hear those words — words she had asked herself many times, yet always in the privacy of her own mind. At that moment, shared with Petya, no less, the thought seemed unbearably vulgar. Yet one more violation of her beloved Dean. Galia had been furious with Petya. Though by now, that fury has dissipated and evolved into a curiosity about what to do with this strange hint.

BY Sveta Angelova, Age 8

Maika had invited Petya to the wedding, and by some act of providence, she had been able to come. This summer, she had received a scholarship to take courses in Japan; her flight was scheduled for the day after the wedding. Galia and Petya had not kept in touch, though Maika had updated Galia on Petya’s doings. After a year working in a local café, Petya had retaken the University entrance exams and been accepted to study Japanese philology. She now had one year left to go. On the side, she translated interactions between Bulgarian and Japanese businessmen and escorted Japanese visitors traveling and working in Sofia.

There was a whiff of cynicism in this last detail — a want, perhaps, of some equalizing factor. Scorn need not be stated explicitly; rather, it was inherent in the notion of Petya, her mother’s daughter, being chosen to accompany businessmen on their travels. For this reason, Galia felt no small triumph — for Petya, and not for herself — when she laid eyes on her at the wedding. Petya was small and unfashionable as ever, dressed in a skirt and blouse that were several sizes too large. Her hair and glasses were the same as they’d been in high school.

It was not until later in the evening — after the gifted keys, the poked scar — that they managed to greet each other. The seamstress had attached clear plastic teardrops to the torso of Galia’s dress. Hugging Petya, she was shamed by the chatter of her movements.

Petya was dealing with shame of her own, with her mother and Zdravko wrapped in tight embrace out on the dance floor. “I’m so sorry,” she said, turning her back on their explicit passions. “I don’t know how to make them stop.” Red freckles of misery sprinkled her cheeks, and her shoulders sagged under the weight of her load. Looking at her, Galia understood one more chance she had not taken: that of a friendship she had failed to recognize in the warm breathy secret that passed by her ear.

Page 13 of 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 View All

Printed from Cerise Press:

Permalink URL:

Page 13 of 14 was printed. Select View All pagination to print all pages.