Iro Nikopoulou: The presents




Iro Nikopoulou


The presents


08-Ro-Chronica_Polonorum_PAULINE PFEIFFER pushed with difficulty the last present, for the time being, into the small closet under the stairs. She closed the door with equal difficulty and puffed breathless. She hadn’t yet got rid of the extra kilos of her pregnancy. She had already started sending her correspondences to Vanity Fair, but she did not dare go by their offices, before restoring her silhouette to how it was before. She straightened the seam in her stockings and returned smiling in the living room. The joyful sound of the doorbell kept announcing new visitors. The maid was hurrying to open the door, and was taking their hats, their coats and the presents for the newly christened Patrick and then she piled them at the back of the living room. The next day, when Pauline began opening the presents, a strange surprise awaited. Almost half of the first five boxes revealed tiny shoes in various patterns and colours. Pauline put a record on, poured herself a gin and tonic on ice and called her husband. They continued opening the presents together and after the fourth pair, they started laughing and placing bets. In the end, the astonished parents counted twelve pairs of shoes of the same size for their beloved son, who started crawling towards them, as if he knew what was going on. They looked at each other’s eyes for a moment. And after one more burst of laughter which brought tears in their eyes, Pauline said that they could not use them all, because children’s feet grow more rapidly than the fresh radish they grew in their garden. The little one would only need maximum two or three pairs; “and the rest?”she wondered putting them somewhat mechanically all back into their boxes, “if I was a member of a charity organization for children, they would find their place,” she murmured, “but what could the unemployed in our club do with them?” “Very simple,” said her husband, grabbing some boxes, as he was exiting the room, “we will sell them and give the money to the club.” Pauline put three pairs aside and then closed the last box shouting, “OK, and how are we going to do that?” “We will put an ad in the newspaper,” came his hollow voice from under the stairs. “And what are we going to say then?” she shouted again, already biting a pencil. “Very simple, are you writing?”

       “I’m listening…”

       “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.


Nikopoulou Iro (Athens, 1958). Painter, poet, prose writer. She studied at the School for Fine Arts and works and teaches Art in Public Education. Her first book: The Wayfarer’s Myth, Poetry, Athens, 1986. Her latest: In Greek: Riddle, (Gavriilides editions, short stories, 2013).

Ttranslated by Vassilis Manoussakis

Vassilis Manoussakis (Athens, 1972). Poet, short-story writer, translator. He studied English Language and Literature. He currently teaches at the University of Peloponnese in Kalamata.

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