What Does Partially Furnished Even Mean? By Etan Nechin

May 18, 2015 Comments Off on What Does Partially Furnished Even Mean? By Etan Nechin

There’s Nina and me, sitting silently on the chilly smooth laminated floor, the TV sitting on the floor as well, keeping us company with its constant “being on.”

I thought it would have a sofa, maybe a couple of dining chairs, but no, only a bed, an oven, and an ironing rack.

Who decides how partial an apartment should be furnished in order for it to be considered partially furnished?

I got the TV from my cousin. In fact, I have no cousin:  it’s just what I call a distant relative of mine. It’s easier than going through my genealogy.

Nina and me and a TV, and some clementines.

Sometime you get sick of talking about existentialism and art and philosophy and art. Sometimes all you want to do is to talk about whether orange cake is better than carrot cake or how you despise certain types of music by saying, “That’s not music!”

Nina and me and a TV and clementines on Christmas Eve.

I have no place to go on Christmas Eve. I never did.

As for Nina, she’s from Eastern Europe: Poland or Lithuania, or some other former Soviet Bloc country.

The TV interrupts us with some news from the Eastern front. They say more snow will white out everything.

It feels like a siege even though it’s only Christmas Eve. Sitting on the floor, Nina’s reliving Soviet nightmares, and we sit silent. What could we talk about? She does not follow football or watch cooking shows.

Nina and me and a TV and some clementines on Christmas Eve with nothing to talk about in a besieged city surrounded by holiday cheer and children sleeping in their parents’ living rooms.

It’s almost Christmas day, and we are starving. This is Stalingrad. Clementines and nothing to talk about.

Nina leans forward as if to say something but only a small gasp breaks out.

In Stalingrad, they held the Germans back for months: I wonder how long we can last.

The TV interrupts our silence again. They say Christmas will be white and the snow will last ‘til New Year.

When she hears that, Nina gets up and walks slowly towards the kitchen. I follow her silently, on all fours, mimicking her every move.

Just before she enters the kitchen, she turns towards the wall and stands there looking at me looking at her. I do whatever she does so maybe we’ll have something to talk about.

We lick the walls to get our calcium fix.

© 2014 Etan Nechin

Etan Nechin is an Israeli born writer, living and working in Brooklyn, NYC. He recently attended a summer residency at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and he has had work published at The Huffington Post, MutualArt, London Mouth, and an essay he wrote is featured in Gravel Magazine.

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