Hope is the Last to Die

written by Miljenko Jergović


It started with someone saying: “I wish we grilled fish now” and it was snowing, one of those snows that becomes filthy on the way down and then turns asphalt to mud. “It doesn’t have to be fish, meat is good too,” said Đuro Bosanac and you could see the balloon over his head with a steak like the one in cartoons. “Forget it,” I thought, but you women have already started to plan, unfolding those familiar long debates about what fish to buy and where, or perhaps meat would be better, beefsteaks, yummy, broiled beefsteaks are excellent, cutlets maybe, then the neck and kebabs, Đuro Bosanac knows the butcher who makes excellent kebabs, but then Đuro Bosanac is an asshole, he always chips and fits in the women’s conversation, maybe we should stick to fish, you can find fine hakes at the fishmonger’s, gilthead breams and black umbers too, in the worst case scenario we can take pilchards, no, there’s no need for that, we can always take hakes, or breams for that matter, yes we’ll buy breams, they’re excellent, is anyone planning a trip to Dalmatia, that is, to bring dry grapevines, I mean the wood, you can’t grill fish without grapevines, charcoal isn’t for fish, you lose the smell, sure, someone should load the car with grapevines, but if we decide otherwise, we could just as well grill meat, it can be grilled on charcoal just as well.