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Sunday Story/ EMPTY PLATE…

2023-12-24 09:22:00, Blog Agim Xhafka
Sunday Story/ EMPTY PLATE…
DAWN XHAFKA

Aleko sometimes drinks coffee alone in the morning. It's been more than five years since he sat at the kitchen table with a cup of money and his life is shown to him like a movie. Since he met Nora, when he got engaged, their wedding and the girls who were born so close to each other that they often confused them with twins. Now they have grown. Nora left them when they were in the sixth grade, one, Mira, and the other, Gresa, in the seventh grade. He suffered a heart attack one afternoon when they were watching a movie on TV and could not even reach the elevator door to go to the hospital. He breathed his last, looking into Alek's eyes and smiling. She left happy, Aleko used to say those days when many friends came to comfort her. Years passed and they did not get used to her absence. The girls cried during the day, but also in their sleep. Aleko used to cry when she was alone at home. Sadness became the regime of the whole family. As a city darkens when the sun hides behind the clouds.
But from day to day life gave them relief tips like an aspirin that we take when we have a little headache. At the dining table with four white chairs where Nora sat, a plate with a spoon and fork was placed on the side and was not touched by hand, they did not move it at all. It seemed like at every meal the four of them had lunch or dinner. Sometimes Alek's mouth would escape and he would raise his glass of water and say:

- Nora, happy!

Those moments brought joy, but they were also milk for their pain. One day the older daughter put a golf ball of her own in Nora's chair. The one she bought on a family trip to Paris. It was blue like her written eyes. Gresa at first put him on the chair, then changed his mind. He wore the chair with the blouse, as if he were a man. From where the golf course, which was long, came out on the spinner and from a distance it looked as if a child was sitting there having lunch with his family. Gresa hugged the whole chair together with the middle golf, a longing expressed:
- My mother, my little one!

From that moment golf became the owner of the chair. An environment was created like back then, with the family that had the father, the two daughters, but there was also the mother. This is her in a blouse, they comforted each other. Day after day, the mind made such exercises, alleviating the drama it found. No one can become a mother, but you can't fight fate either, Aunt Meri, Alek's sister, advised them. You really don't fight with fate, you live with it. Wounds heal even by licking them a little each day, finding comfort in beautiful memories filled with love. This word, the word love, had been taking place in the emotional state of the girls for some time. Both of them would often go to their room for the knocking on their hearts by the boys at school. They mentioned names, laughed, their faces reddened, their eyes shone and they slept with dreams filled with princes and waterfalls. Until one day they asked each other almost at the same time:

-Moj, but dad, is he in love with someone, is he also knocking on someone's heart?
That's it, they didn't give an answer, but put the algorithm in their minds; the father is 45 years old, handsome, engineer, with obvious education. The most logical answer came to them, the father loves someone for sure, someone definitely loves the father, but maybe he is shy of us or of Nora. It seems to him that he betrays the love of the woman who ran away upstairs. Girls like girls went and asked Aunt Mary. She cut them short, it's out of the question, chick. After three days, he told them, Aleko has had coffee with Ola several times, with a young engineer newly appointed to the ministry. Gresa and Mira debriefed further. They learned that Ola was many years younger than the father. She looked so elegant and so beautiful that Aleko was really handsome, but they looked like a couple, father and daughter. They didn't talk to Alekos, but they also put one of her jackets on top of Nora's chair. He was surprised when he saw it. He wanted to ask, but Gresa cut him off a bit harshly:

- It seems to me that mom has a cold these days.

They showed the symbolism to the aunt. We added the jacket so that the father will learn that we don't want him to get involved with Ola, they told him. No news for weeks. Until one day, not aunt, but Irma, one of their cousins, told them:
- I saw Aleko and Aunt Berta at lunch yesterday in Patok.

Berta was the math teacher in high school. She was also a widow, her husband had died in an accident. But he suffered more because Tom, the only son, was also in the car that day. Two deaths in a few minutes. A real horror. Both the girls and Aleko suffered this tragedy. That Berta was Nora's close friend. Both families occasionally organized parties and trips. They were like a big house ie.

The girls started to dream, to believe, something good would happen. Among these hidden wishes, the aunt said:
- Father told me, tomorrow he will talk to them about Berta, he will ask their permission, that is.

They almost broke the word, yes. But they were silent, they saw the chair with the golf ball and the triumph came to them. They waited anxiously for dinner. They set the table. Aleko sat down, looked in front of her, saw Nora's empty plate, was swallowed by a pain that was rising in her stomach. He looked up and saw the shirtless chair. Eyes widened. It was the first time that chair was sitting undressed, naked. He was shocked and quickly looked at the girls. They stood up. Gresa was wearing her mother's golf shirt, chair blouse, that is. Mira approached her father and said:

-Ba, we agree that you should marry Berta. We were even very happy. She will sit in mom's chair, while we will occasionally wear mom's clothes to tell you, dad, Berta is your wife, but Nora is our mother.

He was silent. Aunt Meri's words were said in syllables:
- Girl, I know, no one can be your mother. But mom's close friend can become a mirror where you can see mom alive. You'll see him wearing a blue golf shirt every day.

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