Elisabeth leaned back on her plush outdoor lounger. Miles and miles of shiny glass windows winked at her as the sun began to set. It was an unusually warm day, even for summer, and from her penthouse flat, she could see London’s complex web of buildings and roads sprawled out below her. Freshly manicured fingers reached for the champagne flute resting on the adjacent side table. She brought it to her mouth and smiled as the bubbles tickled her upper lip. She couldn’t help but grin at all the busy people scurrying through the streets below. Like rats, she thought. She tilted her head back, closed her eyes, and turned her face to catch the last rays of the sun.
Her peaceful repose was interrupted by the front door clicking shut. Harold, a small ginger man in a well-fitted suit, stepped inside. He sighed as he placed his briefcase next to his perfectly polished brogues and shook his jacket from his shoulders. He folded it and laid it over the back of the nearby armchair, though he quickly whipped it back when he caught sight of his wife turning to look at him from the balcony at the end of the hallway. Instead, he then hung it neatly on the single crystal-encrusted hook by the door. He cleared his throat and headed towards her.
“Hey, honey. How’s your day been?”
“I just did some shopping on Bond Street and got my nails done. Helen flaked out of our spa trip again, her daughter’s unwell or something apparently.”
“Sorry to hear that, honey. There’s always next week.”
Elisabeth grunted and turned back to face the evening sun.
“Sorry I’m home late,” Harold continued, disregarding his wife’s disinterested expression. “It’s been such a terrible day.”
“Mm. Tell me about it. What’s for dinner tonight?” Elisabeth asked, changing the subject to avoid whatever dull conversation her husband clearly wanted to have.
“I haven’t thought about that yet. Look, Elisabeth, Mum’s dead.”
Elisabeth became stock still. The corners of her mouth twitched.
“Last week. Apparently, my family has been trying to call the flat, but no one has ever picked up.”
“You know I don’t answer the phone to them.”
“But you knew Mum has been unwell.”
“Well, they could have called your mobile. I’m not your secretary.”
“They don’t have my mobile number. You know they…” – Harold took a deep breath. “That’s beside the point. Let’s not argue about it.” He leaned against the balcony door, his eyes glistening along his waterline.
“When’s the funeral?” she asked.
“Tomorrow. In Liskeard.”
Elisabeth grimaced at the memory of the dreary, hilly landscape she’d grown up in. Just the thought of the smell of dung spreading and freshly cut hay made her screw up her nose.
“You will come with me, won’t you?” Harold asked.
Elisabeth remained quiet, hoping that her husband would take her silence as an answer.
“Elisabeth?” Harold insisted. “We also need to visit the house.”
“Why would we need to visit that? No one’s lived in it for years. It’ll be a wreck.”
“But Mum’s left it to me.”
Elisabeth’s eyes lit up.
“She’s left you the house? I thought she was leaving it to your brother since he paid for all her care?”
“A solicitor called today. That’s how I found out she’s passed.” His voice wobbled. “According to her will, it’s been left to me.”
Elisabeth lifted her slim frame off the lounger and got to her feet. Her heels clicked across the wooden deck as she made her way over to her husband and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“Of course, I’ll come with you to the funeral.”
“Thank you, honey; I’d feel so much better having you there.”
“What are wives for?” She smiled sweetly and began making her way inside. “Out of interest, how many bedrooms is that house? It’s on a farm, isn’t it?”
Harold raised his eyebrows, blocking out any intrusive thought that questioned his wife’s sudden interest.
“Yeah. Four or five, I think. As you said, it’s probably gone to rack and ruin by now. It’s going to be hard to see it in such a state.”
“I know. But it’s nothing a quick bit of renovating can’t fix.” – She winked at him before disappearing into the living room.
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: To be announced – (hopefully) Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: London, United Kingdom – From the penthouse – YKD (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed