It is the time of reductions. Waiting for the black bread – its amount is limited so if you do not come in time, there is no more. Milk is sold in plastic bags, which often leak, so I often return home with half a liter instead of the whole one. Less semolina for breakfast. The real chocolate is a real rarity. Instead, they cheat us with sugar bars. The teeth protest against that colored sugar, and the tongue and the palate foresee the deceit. Shoes, for children, you can buy only one brand called Mungos, but in two colors; beige or dark blue. They are leathery and hard. Made to last eternity and a half. Parents always buy a larger number so they would last us longer. And they are anyway untearable. Tearable are our souls and painful feet from solid molds in which, like butterflies in iron-shackles, playful and carefree, we played elastics. What enchantment!
And then the winter and the afternoons spent next to the outside snow, in the warm kitchen under the petroleum lamp. Drying the linen diapers from the younger brother and the smell of beans casserole for tomorrow’s lunch. And through it all the smell of petroleum. The sound of this smoldering lamp. If you boost it, it hisses like a steam locomotive, and if you cut it down too much, it crackles until it goes out. A moment of silence and fear. Matches, phosphorus and in a moment the whole family is cheered up by the shadows. We play games with fingers, sing, invent new words, enjoy winter apples and chase away the night. And it draws with shadows and takes over the rest of the house. The bathroom is ice-cold and at the end of the world for a five year old child. Maybe it is closer to the North Pole than to the corridor that connects it to the kitchen. Who knows who lives in that ice-house and who wants to feast on my fear?
The sound of cold tap water on the metal tub and the smell of hot urine. Going to bed. The living room is turned into a dream bedroom. Unfolded couch and spread quilts, as cold as the frost . Frozen feet and rapid breathing. In the middle of the ceiling a chandelier with thousand and one crystal and twelve light bulbs that are not illuminated, because the reason they are not bright is called reduction. One flashlight and my older brother illuminates the chandelier. He sees my discomfort and feels my decline. On the ceiling, towards this spotlight, small, shining mischiefs appear. My brother turns the flashlight off, they disappear. He turns it on, they come to life again. I am joyful. From my delight, my brother’s head is spinning like a carousel. Children’s drunkenness. He jumps and spins the chandelier, illuminates it, and the unknown luminance beings dance, grow bigger, become smaller …
I do not know with what spell my brother does that and how does he know they are called Tintilinići? When did he even get to talk to them? I am five years old and I trust my brother. He is my big brother and in the darkest of darkness, he can summon the luminance beings. My eyelashes are falling down. The eyes are already closed, from before. The feet are no longer cold. Through the play of light, I sink into some deeper darkness, through the dark passage to the very source of light.