Rita Saliba, Hedwig Terpstra

It oare lichem / The other body / Il-ġisem l-ieħor

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It oare lichem

Ik ferburch it foar elkenien. En pas as ik allinnich thús wie die ik it nije lichem fan in tweintichjierrige frou út en bleau ik yn it âlde.

Tanksij it nije lichem hie ik súkses preaun. Ik gong foar in folle jonger persoan troch. Ik liigde oer myn âldens. Ik hie in goede fêste baan krigen. Ik troude om’t er tocht dat ik folle jonger wie. Ik koe gjin bern krije. Hy sei dat it net útmakke, ‘ik ha dy tichtby my dat ik ha neat oars nedich.’ Hy naam my faak mei nei syn freonen. Hy wie sa grutsk op my. Neffens de froulju fan syn freonen wie ik yn folle bloei.

Ik moast hieltyd yn it nije liif bliuwe. En sa gau’t er nei syn wurk gie die ik it út en fielde ik my noflik, en wie ik mysels. Mei it ferstriken fan de tiid fielde ik dat it nije lichem my oernaam, dat krige alle omtinken en de fertsjinsten foar alles dat ik die. Ik moast mysels oantrune om deryn te gean. Tiid freget syn tol oan elkenien, en ik begûn der wurch fan te wurden.

Op in dei kaam myn man betiid thús fan it wurk. Hy seach myn âlde sels en wie ferbjustere. Hy woe my meinimme nei it sikehûs. Ik gong nei de ladekast en ik krige it nije lichem tusken de âlde klean wei. Ik lei alles oan him út. Ik koe net langer yn in leagen libje. Syn stilte die my sear. Dy nacht sliepte ik allinnich yn myn âlder wurdende lichem. By it lemieren fielde ik myn man neist my krûpen. Hy tute my op it wang. Ik seach him oan. Hy hie ek dingen foar my ferburgen. Foar de earste kear woe ik dat er my seach sa’t ik bin. Ik hie him leaf yn it deiljocht en die krekt of seach ik net hoe âld er ynienen wurden wie.

(Oersetting: Hedwig Terpstra)

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The other body

I used to hide it from everyone’s sight. And once I was alone at home I would take off the new body of a twenty year old lady, and remain with my old one.

Thanks to the new body I had tasted success. I used to pass as someone much younger. I lied about my age. I had secured a good job. I got married as he thought I was much younger. I couldn’t conceive. He said it didn’t matter, ‘I have you near me so I don’t need anything else.’ He used to take me wherever his friends were. He was so proud of me. When compared to his friends’ wives I was in full bloom.

I had to remain with the new body all the time. And then as soon as he left for work I would take it off and be comfortable, and be myself. As time passed I felt the new body take over me, winning all attention, taking the merit for all that I did. I had to train myself to keep entering into it. Time takes its toll on everyone, and I started getting tired of all this.

One day my husband came home early from work. He saw my old self and was shocked. He wanted to take me to hospital. I went to the chest of drawers and from among the old clothes I drew out the new body. I explained everything to him. I could live this lie no longer. His silence hurt me. That night I slept alone with my aging body. As morning dawned I felt my husband creeping next to me. He kissed me on my cheek. I looked at him. He had been hiding things from me too. For the first time I wanted him to see me as I am. I made love to him in the daylight and pretended I did not notice how he had aged suddenly.

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Il-ġisem l-ieħor

Kont naħbih minn kulħadd. U meta kont inkun waħdi d-dar ninża’ l-ġisem il-ġdid, ta’ mara ta’ għoxrin sena, u nibqa’ bil-qadim.
Bis-saħħa tal-ġisem ġdid kont doqt is-suċċess. Kont ngħaddi b’waħda ħafna iżgħar. Kont nigdeb dwar snini. Ksibt ġobb tajjeb. Iżżewwġt għax ħasibni iżgħar milli jien. Ma stajtx ikolli tfal. Qalli ma jimpurtax, għandi lilek ħdejja ma jonqosni xejn. Kien joħodni kull fejn ikun hemm sħabu. Kellu bokka daqsiex bija. Ħdejn in-nisa tal-kollegi tiegħu kont fjura.
Kelli nibqa’ bil-ġisem ġdid il-ħin kollu. Imbagħad la joħroġ għax-xogħol kont ninżgħu u noqgħod komda, inħossni jien. U biż-żmien il-ġisem ġdid bdejt inħossu jirkibni, jirbaħ l-attenzjoni kollha, jieħu l-mertu ta’ kulma nagħmel. Kien ikolli neżerċizza ruħi biex nibqa’ nidħol fih. Iż-żmien ma jaħfirha ’l ħadd u bdejt negħja.
Darba żewġi ġie kmieni mix-xogħol. Kont ħsadtu. Ried joħodni l-isptar. Mort niftaħ il-kexxun tal-gradenza u minn bejn il-ħwejjeġ qodma ħriġt il-ġisem il-ġdid. Spjegajtlu kollox. Ma stajtx nibqa’ ngħix dil-gidba. Is-skiet tiegħu weġġagħni. Dak il-lejl irqadt waħdi bil-ġisem jixjieħ tiegħi. Filgħodu ħassejt lil żewġi dieħel ħdejja inkiss inkiss. Biesni fuq ġbini. Ħarist lejh. Anke hu kellu x’jaħbi minni. Għall-ewwel darba ridtu jarani kif jien. Ħabbejtu fid-dawl u għamilt tabirruħi li ma indunajtx kemm kien xjieħ f’salt.

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