excerptsWednesday, September 30, 1936 Sunday and Monday at Roman. I left the place most disquieted. I had the feeling I should never be able to rejoin life again. Everything seemed futile, absurd (…)Now it's all behind me. In a way, it went clear out of my mind. This afternoon I shall go to court, this evening to the theater, now I am writing in this diary – and meanwhile Blecher's life goes on as I saw it. He consorts with death. Not that sort of abstract, dim, long-term death. It is his own death, precise, definite, known in detail like an object.What gives him the courage to hold on? What supports him? He is not even in despair. I don't understand, I confess I don't. I was about to burst into tears several times while looking at him. Some nights I heard him moan in his room, and cry, and I felt there was someone else in the house besides us: death, destiny, I ignore which. I left his place most distraught, in a daze. Wednesday, December 30, 1936I returned last night from Roman where I visited Blecher for the second time.Perhaps I got used to it but I found him better than last time. If I lived with him all the time I should perhaps come to think his tragedy was normal. There are tragedies experienced day in day out. I know this a little from my own life. After 24 hours habit sets in, that is resignation.As to Blecher, he is much more downhearted. He talked to me about his death, which he believed was close."I am thinking," he said, "that Jules Renard died in 1911. From a distance, death seems so indifferent. That I may seem to have died in 1911 too… I am not afraid of death. I shall rest, I shall sleep. Oh, how good I shall stretch and how I shall sleep! See, I have started writing a new novel. But I am not keen on finishing it. I think I shan't even regret not finishing it. What a meager thing literature is for me and how little of my time it takes! I have been thinking lately of committing suicide. But it's difficult. With what? The simplest would be to hang myself – but for this, I should have to hammer a nail in the wall. And then Olympia would hear me, would come over right away, and I should not be able to do anything. I wanted her to buy sodium hydroxide for me under some pretext, but my parents didn't allow her to. How stupid of me not to have bought a revolver at the time when I still went around and could have bought one…"The following day, that is yesterday morning, he apologized for his confession:"Please forgive me. I don't know what came over me. I hate complaining. I am horrified by corny sentimentalism."What I find rejoicing and emotional in him are his still intact childhood resources of humor, of exuberance. How diligently and in good faith he plays for me on the accordion several tango and foxtrot tunes. Could this be an effort at rejoicing, actually lost for good?He recounted to me various games from last summer when Geo Bogza had been with him. They had played at ships. Bogza had towed the bed, and Blecher had given him the signal of departure. They had nailed a warning to the wall: "Do not climb on the mast and spit down into the engine room".He showed me a photo album (Solange, Ernest, Creata, scenes from Berk, from Leysin, from Tekirghiol...) I refrained from crying when I saw a picture of him at 19 – a beautiful admirable adolescent figure. "J'étais beau gosse, hein?"I left at four – but why didn't I have the guts to hug him, to tell him more, to make a brotherly gesture, something to show him he was not alone, that he was not absolutely and irreparably alone?And yet he is alone. Sunday, June 5, 1938 Blecher has died. They buried him at Roman on Tuesday. I was thinking not of his death, which was eventually merciful, but of his life which makes me shudder. It was too great a suffering for compassion, for tenderness. This boy has always remained a little alien, this boy who lived in his atrocious pain like in another world. I could never have a great élan for him, a fatal overture. He frightened me a little; he kept me away like at the gate of a prison that I could not penetrate, that I could not escape. I tell myself that almost all our talks had something awkward about them as if we had them in a parlor. And when we parted where did he turn? What was like the place where he returned?
Humanitas, 1996

by Mihail Sebastian (1907-1945)