“Awakenings,” by Giedra Radvilavičiūtė

If, before dawn, I open my eyes upon waking, I see my dead mother’s photograph on the wall. That’s why I hung it across from my bed. The photograph was copied and enlarged by a woman artist I don’t even know (and who refused to accept money for it) from a small, completely candid shot. I don’t know the exact occasion of the photograph, but I believe it was somewhere, taken by a male friend of mother’s, on her way to the sanitarium. I was very young at the time, but old enough to hate that man. Only now is it clear to me how much that hate must have hurt my mother at the time: she had gotten divorced three years earlier, found herself someone else, and immediately after fell ill with an incurable disease. (When I think about this, I remember that children frequently meet their ends in the same way as their parents.) In the photograph my mother is sitting lighting a cigarette on a whitewashed cement mileage marker at the side of the road. Wearing a black silk dress sewn (or more accurately, resewn) by my grandmother.

My eyes open, but without getting out of bed, I say:

“Mom … Let’s talk.”

“Well, be quick about it.”

Read more in the current Little Star Weekly!

Translated by Elizabeth Novickas

Giedra Radvilavičiūtė is a Lithuanian journalist and author. She has published two books of autobiographical essays. “Awakenings” will appear in her first book in English, Those Whom I Would Like to Meet Again, being published this summer by Dalkey Archive Press. Elizabeth Novickas has won the St. Jerome Award from the Lithuanian Translators’ Association for her translations of Ričardas Gavelis’s Vilnius Poker and Kazys Boruta’s Whitehorn’s Windmill. She is at work on a translation of Frank Kruk by Petra Cvirka. Read about her here in Three Percent, the excellent University of Rochester blog on literature in translation. (St. Jerome, we learn, is the patron saint of translators, a profession well in need of divine intervention.)






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