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By Luisa Lang Owen

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Many of them working in Germany buy the plans, build them. They have a right to improve their lives,” she adds good-naturedly. The map in her lap makes a flapping sound; strands of my hair tickle my face as I lean forward to listen. The land is lovely; the style of such houses seems ill fitting here, I explain, looking at the hills skirting Bosnia. The glare on the road mirrors the heat in solid sheets. We stop to fill the tank and get something to drink. The car sizzles; its top is scorching to the touch.

The apricot tree seemed most sophisticated, and the exotic fruit with its delicately aromatic orange fruit flesh was exquisitely balanced with the robust edible kernel encased in a hard almond-shaped nut that had to be broken with the aid of a stone. But the tree with the most fragrant fruit, a taste so special it could not be fully recalled from season to season, the peach, seemed transient, offering its rare pleasure just for a time, a pleasure that could not be detained, that disappeared even from memory.

She was the mother of my grandmother Korek, and my father was the eldest of her grandchildren. She was very fond of him. When he was a boy, she told me, she bought him the bicycle on which he took me for rides. Standing on a small table were many pictures of her other children and grandchildren who lived in America, where she herself had been several times. I did not know any of these people. They were my father’s aunts, uncles, and cousins, she explained, and she told me all their names. To me they all looked very remote, alike in their attire and their expression.

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