24

Milica

Text: Nadja Brečević

20.01.2023

One of my strongest memories with you is our trip to Italy. I was about eight years old, and I recall feeling a mix of excitement and slight apprehension knowing we would be away from mom and dad for quite a while. For nearly two weeks, we traveled around northeastern Italy to reunite with relatives in Trieste, and we also ventured to Istria to visit our ancestral village, Brečevići. Many of the memories I have from our trip revolve around the moments during which we encountered an animal. To this day, there are very few animals I don't have an affinity for, and at that time, I think I fell in love with every dog and cat we met. In the pictures, you can see me either petting a neighbor's farm dog or with a dove on my shoulder walking across Piazza San Marco in Venice. During one of our train rides, there is a series of photos of me with my enormous stuffed leopard that you bought for me – which I carried with me through each passing moment of our adventure. You were very good at documenting our entire time in Italy together, and something that always makes me smile is how your fingers are visible in almost every photo, usually in some corner. You rarely used the viewfinder on your many disposable cameras, yet despite their fixed focus and wide angle, I am captivated by the meticulous composition evident in each photograph, even as you captured them sight unseen.

03


Throughout my entire childhood, we often visited you at your home in the brick house in Långedrag. The house you shared with your brother and his family, but also with my great-grandmother and great-grandfather. Sometimes, as I ride the tram towards Saltholmen, passing by the house, memories of the many Christmases we celebrated there come to mind. You had an exceptional love for Christmas, especially for its decorations. I recall every corner of your apartment being decorated with the most beautiful Christmas ornaments. You even went to the extent of draping all your furniture in red and green checkered fabric to amplify the festive atmosphere. You've always had a special fondness for details and for how things should look, and sometimes I wonder if I inherited my penchant for knick-knacks from you. I can easily sift through all the small decorative items filling the large display cabinet or the many drawers in the apartment in Belgrade without feeling a hint of boredom. The bowl of plastic fruits guarded by a gray cat and the combination of a tropical bird climbing a palm in glass, together with a porcelain kangaroo and a snowman with a trumpet in ceramic. Why wouldn't someone find that collection of objects interesting?

09


Your voice had a unique quality when calling my name or answering the phone. In my mind, its echo lingers, especially when, for the seventh time in a single conversation, you ask what I'm doing. There are many scents I associate with you, but one, in particular, is the smell of hazelnuts. Every time I smell that scent, I am momentarily transported back to a café on Linnégatan in Gothenburg where we ate hazelnut cookies many years ago. The scent of the laundry room still evokes memories of our hide and seek games in Långedrag, and how I always wanted to hide in the basement because it smelled so good in there. Whenever we visited you, I always got to sleep with you "in the room," referring to your and grandfather's bedroom, which you diligently kept as cool as possible. Your sarma will forever be the most delicious meal I've had, and the flavour of your Wiener schnitzel on a hot summer afternoon on Rab will also remain a strong taste memory.

I am filled with joy and gratitude for the extensive collection of photographs that you are now passing on to us, immortalizing all the precious moments we shared together. But above all, I am grateful for the love and care you have always given and shown to me and my siblings. Lighting a candle for you and grandfather together brings a sense of comfort, even though I miss you on Earth.



Vidimo se bako,

Volim te.