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Jasone Osoro Igartua > Extracts

Narrative (short story and novel)

2003 Greta | Elkar

How uncomplicated men are! And how easy life is in their shoes! They forget things easily. They rebuild their lives easily. They fall in love easily. They tell you how nice you look, as if nothing had happened. They are more superficial than we are. Lucky men! I would swap their skin for my flesh. The dry flesh that perforates my belly, the heavy, sticky fat that accumulates in my heart, the sponge that develops in my memory, telling me that the past will never disappear. We women are said to be deep. Sensitive. Those are our virtues. Sensitiveness, be off with you! I want to be like men. I want to live. Without a thought for anything else. Without a thought for the consequences. To feel, without the risk of feeling too much. Receive, even though I never give anything, just go on receiving. I want to absorb the energy others give me, accumulate it and use it. Because that is the world of men. Something that starts and finishes in a nicely rounded way, and then starts again without further ado. But not in our case. The life of women is linear. And an abyss looms where the line comes to an end. Vertigo, fear, terror of going above the line once again. Allergic to love. Two years have gone by in his memory. Four years in my cage.

My grandmother got out of the truck followed by the driver, and between them they lifted down an object which until that moment had only been seen in magazines: a mannequin! People were open-mouthed. Ooh! Ah! Everyone wanted to get close, they all wanted to know what a mannequin was like, what it was made of, whether it smelt. But as usual, my grandmother said goodbye to the truck driver, and ignoring everyone took the mannequin into the shop. In contrast, the citizens did not move a hair. I did not know what to do, but then my grandmother emerged and called out my name.

-Oskar, dear, come along.

I proudly went into the shop, what a privilege it was for me! In front of me for the first time stood a mannequin. She was pretty, just like a real woman, and slim. She was naked and I felt embarrassed or something as I had never seen a woman's body before. Then my grandmother dressed the mannequin in some trousers she had on sale for women. She put a bra on it. A yellow wig on its head, and black shoes with the highest of heels on its feet. She put red lipstick on its lips and a cigarette in one of its hands. Finally my grandmother put her beloved green coat on it. That plastic doll took on the appearance of a woman in the flesh right before my eyes. And for the first time I felt I had fallen in love. My grandmother picked up the mannequin and took it to the shop window watched by dozens of pairs of eyes. She put it right in the middle and sat it on a stool. The people did not utter a word, they simply stood and stared. Staring in amazement. With their eyes they communicated the words they could not get out of their throats. All of a sudden Segundo, the cinema caretaker, said: She looks like a film star! It's Greta Garbo!

He had christened her. From then onwards she was Greta. Our Greta. My Greta.
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