The Parable of Bread and Salami

In ancient times, the Tajiks were called Persians and conquered the world. Now they conquer the building sites, but back in the peaceful soviet times they grew up grapes in the Republic of Tajikistan.

And back those days country girls used to work in the building sites. Radio invited them to plastering courses; and with the help of radio the girls received that heavy men’s profession, high salary and occupational diseases.
And they also built up a heavy musculature; and in a year or two they looked very strong heavily trained weightlifters; sometimes even they were compared with pieces of furniture, like a wardrobe or chest of drawers. Typically, with a wardrobe and chest of drawers are compared the men weightlifters or guards at a prestigious institution. This is the mark applied by profession.

I want to tell the true story of one such Soviet girl. The way as I heard it someday.
This country girl Gala married an urban alcoholic and they lived happily ever after in a studio apartment, which she received at a construction site. Gala with her heavy men’s work was not supposed to have children, and they lived happily ever after together with her husband. The only dream of the girl was that her husband would quit drinking.
And one day this dream come true. Gala’s husband stopped drinking, and come to his senses. He started working and loving Gala. From that Gala blossomed and fluttered on a construction site, carrying buckets of paint and slapping cement on the walls of buildings, so that it was pleasure to look at.

Behind the scenes the payday came. Happy woman went with her money to the store and bought a stick of best salami and a loaf of white bread. She wanted to treat her husband.
She stood up with shopping bag on her fifth floor and unlocked the door of her studio nest. She kicked off her shoes and stepped into the room. And she saw there sitting at a table her beloved husband and his friend. On the table there were bottles from vodka — the friends celebrated payday.

The light had darkened in the eyes of Gala. She did not want to see anyone. She wanted to go somewhere and be alone. In a studio apartment one can only retire in bathroom. Gala locked herself inside, opened the tap so that the water roared in the bath and sat on the toilet and, bursting into tears, she ate alone the salami stick with loaf of bread. It turned for her a sad holiday. Commemoration, not celebration.

Gala ate and thought about how fat and ugly she is, as her profession spoiled her bad. And she cried with her ugliness, and the impossibility to share the treats with her husband, cried with the impossibility to love and care for someone. And she cried because this delicious food, which was too much for her alone — it made harm to her and Gala knew it. People often harm themselves in moments when they are hopelessly bad.

This is a story of grief and despair with the taste of salami and freshly baked bread.


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