Thursday, August 5, 2021

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

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

It was possible that her stuffy nose—she always caught a cold on planes—was distorting her sense of smell; that had to be it, but once she blew her nose and could take in air, the smell got even worse. She didn’t remember Barcelona being so dirty. At least, she hadn’t noticed it on her first visit, five years ago. But it had to be a cold, maybe the stench of stagnant mucus, because for blocks at a time she smelled absolutely nothing, and then suddenly the odor attacked her and made her stomach heave violently. It smelled like a dead dog rotting beside the road, like rancid meat forgotten in the fridge and turned wine-purple. The smell would lie in wait, and then blasts of it would ruin the prettiest streets, the quaint alleys with clothes on lines from one balcony to another so you wouldn’t see the sky. It even reached the Ramblas. Sofía looked intently at the tourists to see if their noses were wrinkled like hers, but none of them were visibly disgusted. Maybe she was imagining it because she didn’t like the city anymore. The narrow little streets that had seemed romantic before now made her feel afraid; the bars had lost their charm, and now reminded her of the ones in Buenos Aires, full of drunks who shouted or wanted to start up stupid conversation; the heat, which before had seemed so Mediterranean, dry and delicious, was now suffocating. But she didn’t want to talk about these new impressions with her friends; she didn’t want to be the typical haughty Argentine tourist superciliously pointing out all the defects of the paradise city.

She wanted to leave.

No comments:

Post a Comment