An Evening Full of Quinces
The story of the youngest sister of five...
Dedicated to the youngest sister, Natalija. (1913 – 1930)
The evening was full of yellow. Quinces, that autumn, were as yellow as the golden coins woven into a traditional Slavic necklace – three rows of coins, and two rows of pennies. The sky was full of yellow stars, under them Bosut was quietly flowing and the yellow moon was looking himself in the river.
Under the moon's faint light, you could barely see swift horses pulling a festively decorated carriage along the winding road. The carriage carried five beautiful sisters, wrapped up in wool cloaks. The sisters were hurrying home from the fair. That day, on the fair, sisters bought for themselves plenty of trinkets – beautiful red aprons, and shawls… That day at the fair, the five sisters had their picture taken together, one last time. Then, each sister posed for a portrait alone. Only the fifth sister, the youngest and the most stubborn one for sure, didn't want her picture taken. Nata didn't like taking pictures. Next year, Nata died of scarlet fever. The last to become ill, the only one to die. Nata didn't leave any photos of herself. She didn't leave a photograph for her grieving mother, nor for her father, nor for her sisters. Nata left only yellow quinces on the top of her closet, and a red shawl she bought that day on the fair. She was only 17. The yard where five sisters would run, that yard is long gone. Only wasteland is there now, for as long as the eye can see.