Geboren in Córdoba, Argentinien, lebte lange Zeit in Spanien und lebt nun in Deutschland. Er ist Schriftsteller, Autor von Romanen und Kurzgeschichten, Regisseur und Professor für Film. Seine Geschichten erscheinen regelmäßig in renommierten Zeitschriften, Anthologien und Literaturmagazinen in Spanien, Argentinien, Mexiko, Chile, Peru, Kanada, USA, Italien, Frankreich und Deutschland. Er studierte Bildende Kunst an der Kunsthochschule Emilio Caraffa in Cosquín, Córdoba, Argentinien.

Natural de Córdoba, Argentina, ha vivido en España y actualmente reside en Alemania. Es autor de relatos, novelista, director y profesor de cine. Sus cuentos aparecen habitualmente en prestigiosos periódicos, antologías y revistas literarias de España, Argentina, México, Chile, Perú, Canadá, Estados Unidos, Italia, Francia y Alemania. Ha cursado Bellas Artes en la Escuela de Artes Emilio Caraffa de Cosquín, Córdoba, Argentina.

Norberto Luis Romero is an Argentine, now a citizen of Spain presently living in Germany. He writes a wide range of fiction -from realistic to extreme fantasy. His stories have been published in Spain, Argentine, France, Italy, Canada and the United States. This is his first book-length collection to appear in English. He writes a wide range of fiction- from realistic to extreme fantasy.

Originario di Cordoba (Argentina), risiede in Spagna dal 1975. La sua opera letteraria, che comprende racconti e romanzi, ha ricevuto riconoscimenti per lo stile diretto e agile e per le sue sorprendenti tematiche, mai convenzionali e sempre molto coraggiose.

16.11.13

MISS KAMINSKY EN NEW YORK

El cuento "La señorita Kaminsky", perteneciente al libro de próxima aparición LAS POLACAS, abre en portada la revista The Bitter Oleander, V 19, Nº2 de Fayetteville de N.York.



MISS KAMINSKY

            She came as a substitute for the teacher, Borolav, whom they found dead in the forest simply from old age. She lodged near the school in a cottage that she’d rented for a modest sum. Miss Kaminsky wasn’t exactly what is called fat, but plump with a round face. The truth is that she was of little interest to the men in town, but if they weren’t attracted to her; it wasn’t because of her body but her insipid aspect. She was one of those people whom no one notices as if invisible or transparent. She seldom spoke, didn’t gesture, and when she smiled it was as if her lips reflected an old, unavoidable sadness.
            Nothing was known about her besides having been sent by the government to fill the teacher’s place; and nothing was ever known until the day when, months after her disappearance, the new renters of the cottage discovered that hidden box in a niche in the wall.
            The only thing known about her, except that as a teacher she was better than old Borolav—who, incidentally, in the last years had much neglected his work, so the children had learned nothing but to loaf and commit errors in spelling—was that she liked to walk along the riverbank, read and take notes in a red notebook that she carried everywhere. Sundays, she went to church, always sat in the last row; but she was never seen at any other social event, not at a dance, not at festivals of any kind. She spent almost all her free time enclosed in her house correcting tests or doing other things, because she had to do something to avoid boredom, especially Saturdays and Sundays; and in winter when it was sunny, she walked to the train station or simply sat on a bench in the sun to see the trains go by.  The mailman, who frequented the tavern more than he should have during working hours, one day said the teacher received a letter every week, a letter lightly perfumed with no return address, but postmarked from the capital. As soon as he spread the rumor, conjectures flew throughout the town: a man in love, perhaps a lover rejected as an adolescent, who insisted on conquering her; or the letters were sent from jail, where her husband might be, condemned for robbery, assassination, major treason—nobody knows—or if they were anonymous, threatening her with telling who knows what.
            They also imagined many things about her. Since they knew nothing of her life, someone had to invent it and no one better than old Katrina, who later died along with her husband of an edema de glottis caused by stings from thousands of camoatí wasps. This old woman, who was a gossip-monger, wasted no time either in inventing a past and a present for the teacher or in predicting a future filled with misfortunes, like ending up run over by a train if she kept up that habit of strolling along the platform. About her past she also shed light, inventing: she had been married and had killed her husband; later she changed the version, saying that the husband was imprisoned as an assassin,;and later that he had died in the war blown to pieces by a hand grenade. As was expected, nobody paid attention to her fabrications, but at times she did tell the truth; what happens is that now nobody distinguishes between truth and a lie.
            Miss Kaminsky was aware of the gossip that circulated about her, but she never lost sleep over it. She was a kind woman sure of herself. It’s easy to suppose that mundane things that disquieted the majority hardly preoccupied her, since not a shadow of uneasiness or doubt was ever seen on her face; and her life, routine and simple, never changed in the fifteen years she lived in the town as teacher until the day she disappeared on a Thursday, Augusts 6, about three in the afternoon, exactly the hour that the train to the capital passes. That day her students were waiting at their desks for her to arrive. After a half hour they decided to go home, where they said Miss Kaminsky hadn’t come to class. After a while the mayor and several authorities, and a curious few, knocked on her door but no one answered. They decided to break the door down and go in: she wasn’t dead as they had thought, especially after old Katrina had sworn she’d seen a man, muffled, prowling about the house. She simply wasn’t there and she had left no sign of her presence, nothing, not a note, not a plate, not a photograph, nothing. It was as if no one had lived in that house for the last fifteen years. When days passed and she did not appear—and because she had taken everything she had—they concluded that she had decided to disappear of her own will, surely on one of the trains that passed each week bound for the capital. The question everyone asked was why? if she hadn’t lacked a thing, if she was apparently happy with her classes and loved by her students. During the years that she gave classes, there had never been a complaint, but, indeed, praise for her work, impeccable, and her temperament, affectionate despite concealing her sentiments. Children detect these things with no need for anyone to tell them or show them, they simply know, and at home they said how much they loved and admired Miss Kaminsky.
            But at times there are persons who one fine day get up and suddenly decide to take a radical turn, not satisfied with their existence. That surely had happened to her, perhaps because she decided to escape the tedium, her boring life in the town where the ministry had sent her without asking her whether she’d like it or not, without giving her alternatives. She would like to have been reborn in a distant place that would offer opportunities. There are some who dared say that she had walked, following the rails, and that probably a train had hit her, because at heart she had desired to commit suicide. Old Katrina went from house to house claiming she had seen her ghostly soul wandering near the station, her face haggard and suffering.
            Finally they forgot her. A new teacher took charge of the school and also rented the house she had had. She had the windows repaired and the chimney, which belched smoke inside the house. The workers discovered a cookie tin hidden in a niche. In it were letters, many letters tied in bundle of ten with a red ribbon. They were letters from a man deeply in love, a man whose identity she concealed always under the pseudonym, Johann, written in beautiful English lettering, letters sent during all the years she had lived in the town. Needless to say, the letters circulated from hand to hand until they almost disintegrated at the touch—loving words dedicated to her over so long a time without diminishing his love, his faithful adoration, one iota. At last the town had a real perception of Miss Kaminsky: they learned that she had a heart and was capable of awaking passion in another, that perhaps for this love that could never be realized, she had suffered in silence; and that explained her vague look, that apparent immutability, that imperceptible, infrequent smile that appeared on her lips…almost never. They remembered her with pity and tenderness, but no longer with indifference.
            Together with the letters was a post office cancellation stamp from the capital and an ink pad, but no one noticed them. Curiously, if any of her students had seen one of those letters, he would immediately have identified the elegant handwriting that his teacher used to write on the blackboard.

Translated by H.E. Francis from the Spanish