Sunday story/ Galloshet

2024-01-14 16:35:00, Kulturë Agim Xhafka


Sunday story/ Galloshet
Journalist Agim Xhafka

When I was little, I remember that Korça was covered by snow for several months in a row. The first morning when we saw it from the window of the house, it excited us so much that we were out of breath and I hugged my brother and sister with joy. We sat for a long time with our eyes on the whiteness of the yard. The grandmother would wrap us with her arms full of tule and bring us closer to the window glass. And so the four of us said in chorus the words we had uttered a year ago:

-You snow is cold, I, the child, am warm.

After reciting it three times, we believed that we would spend the winter without troubles and problems.

Our true happiness happened outside. From the yard where the horizontal track was created that took us so much energy from the strength we gave to the body for sliding to skiing with school bags under our asses in the alleys that had their beginning at the martyrs' cemetery above Saint Thanasi and the end of the boulevard "Republic". So many children and young people we played that we looked like dressed in dark clothes like flies when they gather on a white horse's tail.

Snow is like love. It takes your mind, increases your heart rate, but also wastes time. When the night began to fall on the city, we ran home lazily, and we were so tired that we had no strength to eat bread, let alone do our chores.

Even today, that snow is preserved in my memory like the woman who carefully keeps her jewelry in the small drawer of the dresser.

This is how Mr. Korça had blessed him. Full of snow and lots of light. So light that the world seemed round to us, not because of the lessons, but because we were fascinated by the speed when we were launched into the city from above, like a projectile when it comes out of a sporting rifle.

But from those times I remember some sad days, like the rotten corner of a delicious apple, from those of the Rênet type that have so much juice, so much sweetness, but also have a pleasant sourness. These days came without knocking. The temperature rose three or four degrees and the snow started to melt, it became like white mud. Hour by hour it became more liquefied and it seemed like walking through puddles. It's like falling in the middle of a big flower. I remember when I got to school I would take off my socks and squeeze them on the classroom stove. The shoes leaked like plastic bottles with holes. Barefoot, we waited for the six o'clock bell and put our socks back on. Dry, but by the house it was still water. As soon as we entered the house, we threw them together with our shoes and almost ran into the stove in the kitchen. Our teeth chattered from the cold.

This is how mother used to come home from work. Grandma was the luckiest of us. She didn't leave the house, so her feet were warm. But also the father, because he had Galloche.

What are galoshes? They are like elastic boots, but without necks, and shoes were put inside them. Walking with them, no drop of water got inside. The socks almost danced with joy.

The father, because he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia a few years ago, had a problem protecting himself from the cold. She became a bit of a mother until she bought a pair of Czech galoshes from a friend. He brought them to her in his arms and when he put his shoes in them she was overjoyed and in tears. The father loved them so much that when he went two meters outside the palace, he ran after them. When he came back from work, he took off his socks all haughtily, as if to remind us children that he didn't ask about the rain and melted snow.

- Here, I have completely dry ones. And feet warm waves.

I once asked him for a loan, for a ride there from the cinema. He didn't tell me that he wouldn't give them to me, but he said that my foot was small and his galoshes were not suitable for my shoes. While the mother looked at me angrily.

- What about yours, when he goes to work, his feet become porridge? Stay wet for 8 hours? Go back to the hospital? Speak up!

I was silent and life went on like that. When there was slush, i.e. melted snow, I stayed by the window. I didn't go out. Until one morning my grandmother told me:

- Father will not go to work today. Take your galoshes!

And he led me to the door of his room. I opened it a little, I saw that he was sleeping in his own bed.

I didn't wait any longer, grabbed the galoshes, put them on and was happy that they fit me perfectly. I ran to school and the first day I didn't take off my socks. I kept my feet outside the bank for all to see, I was wearing galoshes. I did not return home after the lesson. I wanted to walk with Cale, but he put his finger to my forehead and said:

-You're on the subway, right?! I'm cold from my feet. You're on the fence about the galoshes.

Then I walked proudly on the boulevard two or three times. Up and down. I was not happy about the galoshes, but about the dry leg. After I got tired, I walked towards the house and as I was getting closer, I saw my father dancing around in the melted snow. He hurried and looked like those sports walkers. We met on the stairs.

- You're not going to go to work today?

- I left already in the morning.

- Don't lie, I saw you in bed in the morning.

- Grandma put in the big vase of artificial flowers we have in the corridor, - he laughed.

I grabbed his arm and was quickly pushing him towards the house. As soon as he came in, I laid him on the chair and took off his socks myself. I rubbed his feet with a towel and grandma brought the basin of warm water. After a few minutes of talking without stopping, he gathered himself.

I didn't thank him for the galoshes. I was afraid of getting sick. I saw it on the forehead, it was fresh. The face was slightly red in color. Good dog I thought. I was still under stress until I woke up. When I heard the outer door close I was taken.

- Go away, - said the grandmother. - It seemed good to me. He was smiling.

Then blood came to my face. And I swore: I would neither ask him for those Galloes, nor would I allow him to give me a ride.

But I didn't keep the promise for long. That mom found another pair of wellies. New fringos. But he gave it to his father. He gave me the old ones.

- You took their hand from them, - laughed my good...

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