Eljan Tanini studied Visual Arts and has a MA in Philosophy and Sociology. Currently, he is a journalist for Top Channel. Tanini is an active columnist and essayist for the Albanian magazine Psikologjia (Psychology) and the journal Shqip. In 2009, during his teenage years, Eljan wrote his first book Tregu i Zeros (The Market of Nothing). EljanTanini is also very active in the social media, he runs his own blog Letra nga Republika e Shkarravinave (Letters from the Republic of Scribblings http). In July 2014, he was invited to be part of Kikinda, a Short Story, a Festival being held in Belgrade, Serbia. Lately, he is published in the Anthology of Small Literature. This Anthology is translated into Croatian. In December 2015, he was sent from TRADUKI as an artist in residence in Split-Croatia. In March and April 2015 he opened his photo-expo in the Ex-Yugoslavian Embassy in Tirana, titled Silent Stains.
Title: Tregu i Zeros (The Market of Nothing)
Place of Publication: Tirana
Year of Publication: 2009
© all rights reserved to “Ideart” Publishing House
“Eljan Tanini has the right to be cynical, otherwise nobody listens to you in this world full of futile earsplitting noise. A book, which took my breath away through its wish for authenticity” (Artan Fuga)
At the corner
When I was young I was brought at a church where for the first time I saw icons. Those scared me. What do you want? Why did you come? What are you looking at? I lately won the independence from this possession. This was all the garbage I had for these sights, as when I brought at grandfather’s home my girlfriend, in the bedroom I turned down everything for I didn’t want them to see what we were doing. The black and white pictures of the room didn’t talk at all, while the icons are a little chit chats. I have always liked my church angels at Kavaja Street. From all those angry looks of that possession they become my freedom, I loved them, I kissed them, painted as they were. Later I find out the secret. They look like my angel made of flesh: grandmother! Even the icon of Saint Naum, which granny Vasilika, the second floor neighbor gave it to me before she was gone to become a flower, looks so much like Saint Naum. Her surname was Naum. Granny is home. For me this is the kind of excitement as chocolates are for a child. Every time she comes at us, the cupboards of my house smell of geranium. That colorful perfume scent is my Grandfather. He was an old marijuana lover, a balcony cultivator, since the time of graduation on medicine in Tirana. When he started his long avenue journey, the balcony vases withered! My granny is a strawberry that tastes like melon. So is for me. I have been thinking a lot that grandparents are gone when you don’t met them anymore. You go by force there. But also to show them your broken love. You think that you supposedly care about them. How many times have we slept in the same bed with the curly bed frame, remaining from the time of her dowry! Both are doing fine, the frame and the granny. I want to sleep again with her and talk all night. That’s happiness! Since that day granny was my first love. She had the most soft and beautiful heels I have ever seen. Maybe from this derives my love. Because from all the women I have loved, I chose heels first. Even I kissed their heels they were embarrassed because they were harder they’re supposed to be. I see through the little toilet window till the six floor. Olimbia has hanged 14 pairs of bras, mess tin-scoop model with different colors. Those must be of the daughter-in-law too. Just casually, Ada comes in mind. I saw Ada’s when we were five years old. Behind the kindergarten. It was also located at Kavaja Street. I was shaking off my beast walking after a tree, while she was standing up after a rusty barrel. She made a long iiiiiiiiii sound giggling at my snail, whilst I bitted shyly with my canine teeth, for her turtle: along with many yyyyyy of mines. I have met Ada many years later at the Cape of Rodoni. I was cleaning garbage together with a volunteer group under the heat of the summer, while she was bathing. I recognized her. The first thing I noticed was that her caretta was grown up. Now she could handle me. I finished. I shake him slightly under the pants. – Oooo, granny, where are you going? My question had wonderment. I wanted to have coffee with her. – I am going to the church. A lemonade with Urania and I will come. Because her daughter gave birth to a daughter. I heard it clearly. A daughter’s daughter. One more turtle. Like Ada’s. Another one to love. – Please granny, would you say something to me? She stopped by the mirror on the hall. – What is love? For you granny? – We don’t love, my son! We are being born and we die, because we are afraid. But remember this. Put it in here. Love is… never to tell to the one words you’ve said to the other. Where to put it? In my head?For sure, in the pocket. I laughed a lot. Together with the hall. It echoed after me. I couldn’t recognize my granny anymore. She doesn’t talk like this! I kissed her on the check and she went. I left home too. I walked approximately for 4897 feet counted without a break. At the entrance of Bar Hemingway my two ex-girlfriends are coupling. And them, how?! We say hello like none of them wanted to see me. Anyway. Now I don’t know what to do with them. I met Doctor Mali and after he offers me a lovely cigarette I ask him: – Everything fine with Serotonin? He laughs and gives me a sign. We’ll talk for a little. I found myself under a big could of cigarette smoke, where the sparks that bursts are looks. Hemingway is painted to see at the door on the right, but also all the girls say: “Wow what a look he’s got!” I sit to tighten myself a little there at my corner. Of course, in this occasion it couldn’t go without disgusting it for me. Saliva from a couple that only cracked their kisses. The Doctor offered me a beer Peja. Laid down, at the age of reason, I see thighs in front of me rubbing one against the other; these are the most beautiful things you get to see from that corner. Hot. From where I am only cigarette’s light is hot. I don’t like that girl in front of me. She’s in her forties. But she’s got something not pretty: she reminds me that I don’t want to forget about one love whose birthday is in a few days. I have been thinking. I must have loved her to remember this. Dates are like aromas and after they all are the same. Bring it as you prefer. I’m having a hard time with my mind that in fact is not mine at all. It’s the end of humid summer. To whom shall I write?! I want so much to write, but I don’t even think about sending that SMS. From the counter the doctor called me. He was free from preparing three Cuba Libre. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t mention at all grandmother’s beautiful words. When he says: – “Eljan, I miss loving. I want to be loved. I am tired. I don’t even know if I have ever loved. I miss even cry from love. I don’t know if anybody loves me! But I think you feel the same too,” he said. – “Yes, doctor. Neither do I. I know when I lost love… Oh doctor, there’s not love anymore. There only desires. The doctor is 45 years old but he look like he is 54, I am 26 and even worse than 62. Another round erases our conversation. The doctor turns with conviction in his eyes at my corner. –“How much timer is there left to love Eljan?” – “So yes, Doctor, there is no love. Lights went off. We are in 2014!” As soon as I finished that sentence lights went off in the whole neighborhood. Often, when I say these things, either light went off, either a glass gets broken. It is never quiet. There is always a noise afterwards. Something will crack. It must.
The extract is translated from the Albanian by Davjola Ndoja