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Iustin Panta

These Sleeping Pills

This is an incident I’ll never be able to forgive him. A while later he chided me, that I’d gone off without leaving behind so much as a sign, written a few lines, at least some more or less charming lie. Look, here I am, lying alone in my bed, and I keep dwelling on this incident instead of falling asleep. These sleeping pills are good for nothing. But what effect could they have against the thought that he once told me, “When I kiss you, you should feel the same thing a hi-fi pickup feels as the needle slowly descends and the record starts spinning . . . —how wonderful, the symphony of night.” But this isn’t what most annoyed me. The day we broke up, it was Easter; we’d planned to spend it together. He said to me, “It’s a holiday,” and held out three traditional red eggs, but with naked women painted on their shells. And the women weren’t some of those cheap stickers, he’d painted each of them himself, with a certain degree of craftsmanship. “Why three?” I asked him. “One for each of the three graces,” he replied at once, as if he’d somehow anticipated my bewilderment. Then he continued, smiling: “Was that all you wanted to ask me?” Oh, how I hated his stupid tests . . .

Translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and Radu Andriescu

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