Whenever I return from school with Dora, I feel relieved to be back at home, but I also get a sad feeling in my chest, like the one I have right now. Sometimes I even feel like crying. If I cry, I don’t let Dora see me. It’s embarrassing, but I can’t help it. I still cry sometimes when Dad is angry or if Mum doesn’t answer the phone when I call her. Sadness normally disappears when I switch on the TV to watch Plaza Sesamo and then the programs that follow. I know by heart the shows from Monday to Friday from 4:00 to 9:00. I even know what’s after 9:00 pm when I have to go to bed: abuela changes to Canal 7 and watches Los Ricos También Lloran. It’s a boring novela about a very poor woman who is lost in a new city. She doesn’t know that she’s the lost daughter of a very rich man and she has a lot of enemies who make her life impossible. The television is always loud because both Abuelo and Abuela are a bit deaf. That’s why I can hear the story of that novela from my bedroom. It’s just like the radionovelas that Dora listens to when she’s doing chores.
The pots in the living room are filling up. I know that because the noise has changed from an empty thump to a quieter splash. Dora replaces the containers with empty ones and throws the water in the kitchen sink. They fill up quickly, almost like a water faucet that hasn’t been closed tight. I can’t sit on the sofa because Dora removed the cushions and put a plastic bag under the small bucket to collect the drops. God please make the rain stop.
I go back to the dining room window to check the street again. The color of the sky has turned into a lighter grey and the raindrops crashing against the window are not as fat and heavy as before. The street is deserted. I don’t know what happened to the traffic jam. The cars that broke down earlier are gone. There isn’t a single soul in sight. Rain keeps falling without interruption to feed the street rivers. It’s as if it wanted everyone to hide from its might. The living room leaks are now louder than the rain outside. They are out of synch. This chaos of drops reminds me of our music class and the boys who kept beating the drums until the teacher told them off.
Dora continues ironing after emptying the living room pots again. She’s not worried like me because she’s a grownup and doesn’t see this danger. She’s surrounded by tidy piles of newly ironed school tops, towels, bed sheets, and even men’s underwear. She hangs shirts and trousers using the door handles and the back of the dining room chairs. Now the dining room looks like an odd shop; she could be the manager behind the foldable ironing table.
A bright flash from outside is followed by loud thunder. It’s so loud that we both shriek and the windows seem to shake. Next, the familiar car alarms go off in the neighborhood. Car alarms here go off every time a heavy truck drives by. I think of the cars parked in the street as sleeping babies suddenly awakened by a loud noise that makes them cry.
Dora switches off her radio. “Nena, ¿tienes frio?” she asks when I sit on a chair in the dining room. Adults associate the rain and the gray clouds with feeling cold. Maybe I was shaking, not because I was cold or because of the loud thunder, but because I am now thinking how alone I am. My home might collapse after another loud clap of thunder.
I don’t bother answering Dora, just nod my head. I am never cold. I still have two t-shirts under my school uniform. I look up through the window. I feel like crying but Dora won’t see my tears.
“I think the rain will stop soon,” she said, disconnecting the cord to the iron and wrapping it around the handle. She might be right. After all, she has finally stopped ironing. I wish Dora was part of my family so she was here to protect me and not just to work and be paid. She looks red and sweaty after her ironing workout.
Dora sits down on the only dining room chair free of freshly ironed clothes. We are both looking at the window in silence. I can’t help wondering if the ceiling in this room will begin to leak too.
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: Nine Days – 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
Credits (left side top to bottom, middle, right side top to bottom)
Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 3 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – La candelaria 2 – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – At the station – Simlinger (Shutterstock), Bogota, Columbia – Black shadows – Nicolas Ladino Silva (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – The street – Mikhail Mokrushin (Unsplash), Bogota, Columbia – At home – Alex Mercier (Unsplash)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed