The Twin dolls

The avalanche of memories blows up and dilates uncontrollably year by year and day by day, insofar that comes a moment when it appears literally unbearable and much perilous for the human brain walled within a skull that weighs down and screeches hoarsely from its disproportionate heaviness; thereafter, in order to save it from the total destruction, a godly mechanism intervenes of its own accord, a sort of biological outlet, let’s say, which incinerates memories year by year and day by day, and scatters their ashes in the four corners of the earth.

Furthermore, we should profess that it is evenly true that all the human memories aren’t but atoms of the Universal Memory; if one of these atoms finishes to be consumed, it is substituted immediately by a new entry of memories, so that the cosmic equilibrium might be unbroken. What the human eye picks up is all the creation of God, and He only handholds the spins of Perseverance and Extinction of everything.

Although the human willingness is driven out from such a process, through his enlightening consciousness the human being yet is present in the decline of those events, of those living creatures and all of those things that have had any crucial importance in the course of his existence, in various moments of Time. Through the same enlightening consciousness, he participates equally to their existential Perseverance, under another form, through his memory. On the other hand, then, the biological outlet incinerates bizarrely some very fresh memories, and hoards fanatically the remotest ones. .

In the autumnal twilights overloaded with rain, when the nature seems to have an unusual haste to lighten itself of its sorrowfulness, I always see myself seated at grandmother’s balcony, watching fixedly the Orange Tree-lined Avenue. The grandmother is dead; in her house of a time, of a so long time ago, where I used to go and spend the summer holidays, dwell other people. I have become adult, and I am not any longer nine years old. But the memories that tie me to this atmosphere are so limpid that always I feel the same soul thrilling, just as in those times. It is the summer’s end; the green-yellowish slabs of the balcony are still lukewarm by the afternoon sun, which just left my own space. I see myself seated on a small stool; running over the crowded branches of rosy flowered geranium planted in numerous vases, I try to keep watching fixedly on the Orange Tree-lined Avenue. Rescue! I should absolutely try not distract the eyes from that place, otherwise I risk seriously not to see the young painter when he passes every afternoon alongside the Avenue. I’ve never met him; in the house of my cousins, where all people portray him as wonderful man, I’ve found once a dossier with his sketches: some marvelous and delightful images of women dressed either as ancient fighters or godly huntresses. I go often to my cousins’ household, spurred always from an uncontrollable desire to know the young painter, but I’ve never had the chance to meet him. Once I heard that his sketches had drawn the inspiration from Mythology. I can’t clearly name all what I feel for him; what I clearly know is that I do not live but for those afternoons hours, when I nail myself to grandmother’s balcony and keep watching on the Orange Tree-lined Avenue, whereby should pass the young painter. I feel my eyes twinkle, whilst my look, almost exhausted, begins to populate with heavenly figures and colours the entire dark Tree -lined avenue. When it happens to see him far-off, I feel myself happy. But there are days when I do not see him; the hopelessness swells me like a wineskin, and I glimpse nothing but the full-coloured circles of light, wherein I have the vague impression to perceive his image. But just in that instance the rain of the first autumn, so unexpected and stinging, falling bitterly down not without a wrath, disseminates in the twinkling of an eye the walkers of the Orange Tree-lined Avenue, who will return there the next summer only. I feel lonely, with a deep disolation in the spirit. But ma not lonely at all, I have the twin dolls who never get away from me; they’re the sole creatures in the whole world who know my deep secret. They are even my sole accomplices for all that time. I try now to play with them; first I comb their hairs, after i begin to beautify and to tan them well, but my eyes, however, are still watching fixedly on the Orange Tree-lined Avenue. My twin accomplices do not say even a word, neither do they complain for anything, even if I know perfectly how much they love to become beautiful, Whilst the night overhangs on everything and the Avenue becomes quite mute and quasi invisible, I leave the balcony, and after having dinner, my grandmother puts me to sleep. This is the best time to speak with my abettors: blanket over the head, and I begin to tell them of what I have seen on the Orange Tree-lined Avenue. Majli and Mejli become all ears: Have you seen the young painter?– asks beckoning Majli. No – I respond inconsolably, with the same beckons. – The rain shattered every thing! I’ll never see him anymore! My inconsolability invades also the smooth-haired and shining-eyes dolls; they don’t know how to console me. One caress my face, while the other tries to wipe out a tear drop leaked silently from my eyes. They are my best friends! And how much I love them! .

In the autumnal twilights overloaded with rain, whenever the memory of that rainy nightfall appears, I feel a soul thrilling. Similarly to what I felt that unusual twilight, when everything was flaked by a sun which did not want to set down, and abruptly an unexpected and so stinging rain overflowed. I try to sink deeper and deeper in this memory; firstly, I realize to have lost the painter forever, which made me suffer for a long�so long time, till the party organized for my tenth anniversary, wherein the great hullabaloo of my classmates, the juvenile behavior of the great army of my relatives, the abundance of the presents, the delicious cakes full of chocolate, and the promise of my parents to pass the New Year on the Mountain of Dajti, where they would teach me skiing, rejoiced my heart, made me forget the young painter. And my twin dolls , what about them? Well, certainly they would not have survived for so many years but what I want to know is how did they disappear, how did they decline, where were they lost? Did they remain severed of a leg or an arm (and just to think of how much I looked after them), or they disappeared in the twinkling of an eye? I still try to sink deeper and deeper in my memories, but I find them nowhere. They are not in the party of my anniversary. How it comes? Perhaps, something does not function well with the complicated Memory mechanism; impossible! I try to turn again over my memories which open themselves one by one like petals of a rose. Nothing! Perhaps I hurry too much, or probably I do not manage all my memories as perfectly as I should. So, I try again to turn back to my memories now more leisurely. But still nothing. I can not believe; I suppose to know all the moments of the declination of those things that have been beloved to me, the same as I know their return into my memory. So, where are my abettors, the twin dolls? The night when I lost the painter, they were in my bed, and we spoke together for a long time. It rained all the night, I remember it very well! But after that moment, a black hole is open and swallows everything. The Memory mechanism is blocked up. The more I try to get moving onto such a mechanism the more I feel an emptiness in the spirit. I feel the fear entering by force in every centimeter of my flesh; it’s an unusual fear, the fear from the fallacy of the memory. It seems that many, so many year ago, something very dangerous has been conspired against my life, a sort of memory-bomb programmed to explode right now. I’ve no time: the night along I dream the inflamed screen of the bomb charged with memories, wherein all the figures run towards zero. I try to vigil, so that I might keep watching on the bomb’s screen. I’ve the impression that through vigil I can slow down the time of its outbreak, and the only way to avoid it is to find out where the twin dolls have been unraveled. Otherwise, I know that I’m lost! Exhausted but firmly enough, I decided to go the whole hog.

I plan to make use of another method: I will let the memories to overflow freely, according to their will. Now they make irruption, overflow without any sense nor order. I remember the big park of the city, which is too close to my grandmother’s household; I recall a big white boat and a gigantic sailor, in plaster, over it; I remember the numerous alleys of the park which carry towards the monuments of the Martyrs, and continue to the paths of a forest that I never dared to tread on, as I feared always to get through the bang of the battles and war. I remember the days passed at the seaside, where the old woman eats greedily, every morning before dawn, row sea-urchins and ever smells iodinium; I remember the golden ribbons brought for my twin dolls as presents and a children’s watch of the same golden colour, which I don’t wear off evenly when my grandma washes me; I remember the old cemetery over up the hill in the far quarter of the other grandma, from my father’s side, close to the alley where we used to play. I remember how we crossed over the hill full of cypress and non-hedged, where my grandfather reposed, and we went to the river bank dreaming to have lived in another world and put inside the jars the frog larvae, to home-grow them. I recalled those days turning back from the other world, jars in hands, when gloaming was almost everywhere, we played hide-and-seek around the heavy graves being the only living creatures daring to adventure amid the tombs, at such late hour. The remembrance of the old cemetery without enwall fills me by itself with a vague hope. I do not care much (I said I feel haggard) to find where that ray of hope comes from, as a fresh feeling vitalizing the skin. .

I decide to go to the far hometown of my grandmothers; better to move up, I thought to myself. I arrive at the hotel late in the afternoon and, after tiding up the few clothes into the wardrobe, I think of going to the footway of my childhood time. Right after I step out of the hotel, I feel the haste going there turns into anxious and I almost fly up to the pathway at the foot of the cemetery hill. The nightfall is approaching slowly, but there is still too much light; it is a sepulchral silence and only the wind rustle through the cypress is heard. I am grown up, but, as in my childhood, the tombs do not cause me any kind of fear; on the contrary, my heart fully missed them. I led my way to my grandfather’s tomb and very soon I feel sorry not having brought a bunch of flowers; close to grandfather’s, it is another newly grave, which I do not remember. Perhaps it did not exist at the time when we played here, I think. I recall when we hid, we moved easily the upper ledger of the old tombs, which had very high bordures and we entered in�There was nothing, there was a temped ground place with grass blades here and there; we, children, knew it, thereof we felt no fear; the ancient deceased if still there, should be underneath, deep under the earth. Urged by curiosity, I move the upper ledger of the new grave near my grandfather’s – it is the only grave I have not explored when I was a child. To the surprise, from the open tip, besides the darkness, nothing could be seen. The nightfall becomes thicker over the cemetery. I smile to my almost childish firmness and drew with both hands the upper ledger of the grave: what is shown up to my eyes is not a ground land, but something shining and strong. I hop down and I need to open a hood: Oh, my God! My twin dolls, my lifelong friends, are here, over a white satin kip, ribboned in golden color, alike that time, and close-eyed, in a deep sleep. “Mejli, Majli” – I yell with all might and may and I need time to wake them up; we keep kissing each other for minutes. How much I long you! So many years, not seeing each other! They both exchange looks surprisingly. “Come and have a sleep”, Majli advices me; “You must be very tired!” – adds Mejli. It’s true enough; at moment I feel my eyelids weighing down heavily. “I will doze”, I think, ” I have a lot of time to talk to them tomorrow. What a miracle to find them!” The gloaming is melting into night. Quite by chance I get reading the epitaph over the grave’s hood, which afterwards, very carefully, I draw over myself: it’s my name and my living years, 1960 – 1969. I don’t care a bit. I need sleeping so much, back again with my twin dolls and, thanks God, I am saved of the terrifying memory prank.

Published 11 February 2002
Original in Albanian
Translated by Shpresa Sulo & Salvattore Doda

Contributed by Mehr Licht © Velija Cultural Foundation


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