by Samanta Schweblin
Translated by Joel Streicker
Samanta Schweblin / Pájaros en la boca (De otros mundos)
I TURNED OFF THE TV and looked out the window. Silvia’s car was parked in front of the house, with the emergency lights on. The bell rang again; she knew I was home. I went to the door and opened it.
Three days went by. Sara was in the living room almost all the time, sitting up straight on the sofa with her knees together and her hands on them. I went to work early and searched the internet for combinations of the words bird, raw, eat, cure, adoption, knowing that she kept sitting there, looking toward the garden for hours.
In the supermarket people loaded their carts with cereal, candy, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. I limited myself to my canned goods and I waited in line in silence. I went two or three times a week. Sometimes, even though I didn’t need to buy anything, I would stop by before going home. I would take a cart and walk down the aisles thinking about what I might be forgetting.
One afternoon Silvia called to let me know that she was in bed with a ferocious flu. She said that she couldn’t visit us. She asked me if I could manage without her and then I understood that not being able to visit us meant that she couldn’t bring more boxes. I asked her if she had a fever, if she was eating well, if she had seen a doctor, and when I had her sufficiently occupied with these answers, I said that I had to hang up and I hung up. The phone rang again, but I didn’t answer it. We watched TV. When I brought food, Sara didn’t get up to go to her room. She looked at the garden until I was done eating, and only then did she return to the program that we were watching.