Extract from “Dosta” by Mona Choban © 2012
(Dosta is both an archaic Rhodop female name and a word meaning quite or enough)
The action takes place in a haunted Rhodop village where Katerina has bought a house. The aged local inhabitants are quite sceptical.
Through laughter she told them she was getting a new life together and that soon she’d be living with them all the time. They did not believe her overmuch. They’d seen others like her. They bought houses, fixed this and that, came some summer or other and then were never seen again. That’s what happened with the English on the ridge up there and with those Sofia folk by the pub. They bought houses – repairs here, workmen there, they appeared like lords of the manor – gave out instructions, stopped their car in the town square, the lady got out – looked about, shouted at the workmen, and then went away again. They rebuilt the two houses anew, both over-decorated, ridiculous, different…And then they turned up some Saturday and Sunday, then some Summer or New Year, and on and on till they had got through all their friends and relations and finally no-one came. The Sofia folk were keeping the houses for their children supposedly, but try telling that to the people of Buinovo. And the English still declared that they were going to live there once they were retired. They were just spouting a lot of wind – they were talking but they themselves didn’t believe it. A house, if you don’t stroke her every day, if you don’t light her fire, if you don’t make her floorboards creak, you won’t fall in love with her, and she won’t care for you. A house is like a wife – she needs care and sincerity, if you con her and only drop in on her from time to time, she’ll begin to wait for you, wait more and then start to trick you. Either the roof will leak, or mice will move in, or, as if by coincidence, she’ll offer shelter to some squirrel from the woods, or spiders will festoon her. Because both a house and a wife want to feel your breath, to drink it in for luck, so that whether you pamper them or push them away, they want you to play; and just as they please you with something, they find something else to worry you with, and either they bring you great joy or make you think about them so they don’t leave you in peace. That’s what they’re like – they want what’s owed to them and if for a long time you don’t give it, you’re not going to keep them.