The Breathing Hill

Novel. Ciela Publishing 2010 Award Nomination for Helicon 2011

Breathing Hill

Novel, Ciela Publishing, 2010

excerpt from the novel The Breathing Hill   


A whole day of kisses



At this point, Mary needs to confess something before you. One day, quite some time ago, she spent a whole day kissing with her friend Thomas.

And it was not a kissing competition, but it was all quite voluntary. And as I know that you haven’t been kissing for a whole day /how nasty I am!/, I will tell you how it happened and what it’s like.

At the beginning, one does not intend at all to spend the whole day kissing. One dallies around as it is the last day of one’s stay in a foreign city, which had lasted for about three months. It suddenly comes to mind that this, being your last day here, you could call your friend here, whose name is Thomas and who was full of doubt even at that time.

Thomas admits that he is very happy, you meet near the bridge over the river. /It is good if the city where you would be kissing for a whole day is seated on a river./ At some point you start crossing the bridge, which is so long that its end never comes. /This is also very important./ And what happens? Several elements are of significance now:

The river down there is large, deep and dark as fate.

The end of the bridge is well out of sight.

Last day.

And you have next to you a fair, bearded, poetry-writing new friend of yours, who made you buy out the stock of the bookstore as he pulls out not from the inner pocket of his jacket, but rather straight from his heart, small butterfly booklets, and as he traces their hesitant attempts to fly one direction or another and seems to be trying to draw them back by calling their names, you have already pictured continents… The river also babbles there, as if it comes from the lower world and the bridge seems to Mary like a huge zipper, which opens noisily with every step of theirs – to Mary those steps look like giant strides, fatally taking them to the other end of……………… the Zipper, which in this case was a huge garden by the river.  

The trees there looked like candelabra and the paths were so narrow that they had to stop kissing when they walked past other people.

Sometimes they stopped because they were very thirsty and Thomas gurgled a sip of fanta down Mary’s mouth, while she rolled the cherry of her ice-cream…..


Yeaahh, it was already dusk and the waiters started looking at them kind of strange, as Mary and Thomas were Marytom and then Thomasmar, and as we all know, it is difficult to serve coffee to people whose minds are so blurred.

Then it got pitch dark, Thomas and Mary got on a bus and before that a funny machine spit out a small ticket and Mary suddenly realised that she was going to miss the train.

The next morning, she looked at herself on the train: her cheeks and lips were burning and her chin was very red. In the course of the day it formed a crust. And on the next day she was home and her mother asked her:


„Where did you rub your chin sore?”


Mary put up a whole story how the bridges in some cities are zippers, which sometimes get stuck, they trip you and, there you are, changed for the rest of your life. And, Wittgenstein was not right in saying that the boundaries of our language…, well, how had he put it, … it was related to the boundaries of the world, because the zip-pers had to be taken in mind. There are some compressed data there, say, a day of kisses compressed…  they could get decompressed, you didn’t even have to speak, they just… But her mother wanted to hear no more of Mary’s inventions.



Translation: Angelina Sekulova



The Breathing Hill, Excerpt