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Sławomir Shuty

Photo by Ha!art

Sławomir Shuty

Nineties

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Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Alicja Klimurczyk

In the times when the delights of molecular gastronomy existed solely in the imagination of culinary dreamers, we were able to appreciate whatever little thing we managed to get hold of and eat. The process of grocery shopping was complicated like mammoth hunting, and the sight of a queue forming nearby made us drool. Life was simple but abounded in surprises. When my brother purchased three oranges, after hours spent in a queue outside the greengrocer’s shop, there was great joy in the family. We decided, at our father’s suggestion, not to consume them. A decree was passed saying that the exotic fruits will be displayed on top of the television set. There was a niche in our china cabinet, where we had placed the TV. It was a sacred space, whose sanctity was now reinforced by the presence of the oranges. Each member of the household had tempting thoughts about them every now and then, but none dared violate the peace of the little shrine. Our father’s hands were just, eager, and terribly heavy.

Christmas came and we hoped we would be allowed to take communion with the fruity absolute, but dad didn’t let us. I interpreted his obstinacy as the wisdom of a man experienced in the ways of life; a man who knows that things happen when they are supposed to happen. As it soon transpired, our father didn’t take into consideration the possibility that those beautiful, coloured balls might mildew. The day we threw the green-coated oranges into a garbage bin, the first crack appeared on the perfect image of our father.

English translation: Alicja Klimurczyk
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Sławomir Shuty

b. 1973) the author of Cukier w normie (Blood Sugar Normal), an acclaimed collection of short stories, and novel Zwał (The Heap). Also a performer, photographer, film director, and an economist by education. Although Shuty no longer lives in Nowa Huta, he is still identified with the district – his real name is Sławomir Mateja, and his pen name “Shuty” is just the phonetic representation of the Polish “z Huty” i.e. “from Huta”). He was brought up on a housing estate in the Kościuszkowskie housing estate. (ezp)
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