To the Door

translated by Teodora Gandeva

Over time you realize that the only thing you can do is to comfort. Before my grandmother passed, having already dwindled away, she would hold my hand tightly and say, “It’s so strange, I feel like living more, tomorrow I’ll milk the goat and drink.” The goat had died twenty-six years ago, and my grandmother hadn’t left her bed for six months . . . 

When I was little and afraid to fall asleep in the dark, I would reach out for her hand from my bed, and she would reach out for mine from hers; the room was small, and this bridge chased my fear away. It was as if we were walking each other to some place, holding hands until the fear passed, and then she would let me enter the dream. 

All I could do now was to return the favor. Everybody enters their dream and death alone, but it’s good to have someone walk you to the door.

Georgi Gospodinov (b. 1968) is one of the most widely translated Bulgarian authors. His most recent poetry collection is Where We Are Not, winner of the 2016 Quill Award for Poetry. His second novel, The Physics of Sorrow (2015), was awarded the Jan Michalski Prize for literature and was a finalist for PEN Translation Prize.

Teodora Gandeva holds a BA in English and American studies and an MA in translation and editing, both from Sofia University. She has worked as an interpreter and lecturer at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and for the Bulgarian edition of L’Europeo magazine.