Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
My hosts take me to the hill by the Clock Tower. We pause. They confer and the beautiful girl sighs at them, and asks me if I would mind drinking from the same bottle. They always did, they didn’t know where to find cups. Nema problema, I assure them that I also want to be a part of the usual routine. The boys applaud. They buy chips–divided five ways, not enough to concern the arteries–and beer–again, with the divisions, no one would get tipsy. Perfect portions.
We climb up slowly. They grow quiet as the sun sets. The city lights up. To avoid melancholy, someone begins a series of jokes in Serbian. I catch the name “Chuck Norris,” pleasantly surprised to hear him as an international joke protagonist. As they explode in laughter, they also offer attempts to fill me in, tough as it is to translate humor. Yet, I prefer the jokes as they tell them, “Chuck Norris drowns the sea.” Or, “Chuck Norris gets in the bus and the controller pays the ticket.”
The girl pulls weeds and tosses them off the side of a cliff, peering down. We gaze over the city, everyone glancing at my reactions, trying not to stare, trying not to ask, only to read what a visitor might see.
–Novi Sad, Serbia.
(Thank you to Dusan, Gregor, Boris, and Milica.)