The Girl on the Fridge

Stories

Etgar Keret; Translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE (Asthma Attack)

When you have an asthma attack, you can’t breathe. When you can’t breathe, you can hardly talk. To make a sentence all you get is the air in your lungs. Which isn’t much. Three to six words, if that. You learn the value of words. You rummage through the jumble in your head. Choose the crucial ones—those cost you too. Let healthy people toss out whatever comes to mind, the way you throw out the garbage. When an asthmatic says “I love you,” and when an asthmatic says “I love you madly,” there’s a difference. The difference of a word. A word’s a lot. It could be stop, or inhaler. It could even be ambulance.

THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE Copyright © 1992, 1994 by Etgar Keret