Wednesday, August 4, 2021

the last book I ever read (The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories, excerpt two)

from The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories by Mariana Enriquez (Translated by Megan McDowell):

They were afraid. They were always afraid. In summer, when Josefina and Mariela wanted to swim in the above-ground pool, Grandma Rita filled it with five inches of water, and then sat in a chair in the shade of the patio’s lemon tree to keep watch over every splash, so she’d be sure to get there in time if her granddaughters started to drown. Josefina remembered how her mother used to cry and call in doctors and ambulances at dawn if she or her sister had a fever of just a couple degrees. Or how she made them miss school for a harmless cold. She never let them sleep over at their friends’ houses, and she hardly ever let them play on the sidewalk; when she did, they could see her keeping watch over them from the window, hidden behind the curtains. Sometimes Mariela cried at night, saying that something was moving under her bed, and she could never sleep with the light off. Josefina was the only one of the family’s women who was never afraid; she was like her father. Until that trip to Corrientes.

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