Occurrences In Current Unreality

"I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire." P. B. Shelley When I stare at a fixed point upon the wall at length, it sometimes happens that I no longer know who I am, nor where I am. On such occasions I experience my lack of identify from afar, as if for a moment I had become a perfect stranger. That abstract character and my true personality are equally competing for credibility. In the next moment my identity resurfaces, as in one of those stereoscopic photographs where the two images get sometimes separated in error, and only when the operator readjusts them, restoring superimposition, do they suddenly focus into a three-dimensional illusion. My room is then revealed to my senses with a freshness it did not priorly possess. It is restored to its earlier consistence, while the objects therein fall into place, the way a powdered clod of earth in a bottle of water settles in layers of different elements, clearly defined and differing in color. The elements of my room stratify within their corresponding contours in accordance with the chromatic pattern lingering in my former memory of them. The sensation of remoteness and solitude during the moments when my quotidian personality dissolves to a state of inconsistency is unlike any other sensation. When lasting longer, it changes to a sort of anxiety, the fear of never being able to find myself again. All that is left of me is an irresolute silhouette far off, against an intensely bright background, rather like objects discerned in a haze. The terrible question "who am I?" comes alive within me at such times, like an entirely new body grown inside of me with skin and with organs of its own which are completely unknown to me. Answering this question is an urge springing from an awareness deeper and more essential than that of the brain. All things endowed with the capacity to stir within my body do stir in an act of convulsive rebellion more powerful and more elementary than any quotidian occurrence. All things within me are beseeching for an answer. On some occasions I find my room as I have always known it, as if I closed my eyes and opened them again: each time, nevertheless, the room comes into sharper focus – rather like a landscape seen through a telescope, increasingly better structured as, adjusting the distances, we penetrate all the successive veils of intermediary images. Finally, I recognize myself and find my old room once again it is a slightly inebriating sensation. The room is extremely condensed in its substance, while I implacably revert to the surface of things: the deeper the trough of that wave of unknowing, the higher its crest; on no other occasion, nor under any other circumstances, does it occur to me more obviously that each and every object does occupy the space it is supposed to occupy by right, and that I am the one I am supposed to be. My grappling with the unknown is consequently devoid of a name; it endures as a mere regret that its depth has had nothing to offer me. I am only surprised by the fact that such a total lack of significance could be so intimately connected to my intimate substance. Now that I've found myself again and seek appropriate expression for my experience, it strikes me as utterly impersonal: a mere exaggeration of my identity, a cancer-like growth nourished by its own substance. A jellyfish tentacle growth out of all proportion exasperatedly probing the waves until finally withdrawing under its jelly dome. During a few palpitating moments of unrest, I have thus pursued all the certainties and uncertainties of my existence, only to revert finally and painfully to my solitude. Such solitude is purer still and more dramatic than at other times. I sense the remoteness of the world more clearly and more intimately: a melancholy limpid and fragile, like dreams remembered in the dead of the night. This solitude alone reminds me still, though vaguely, of the mystery and the thrill tinged with sadness of my childhood "crises". It is only in this subtle vanishing of identity that I recognize my earlier descents into the accursed spaces, and only during the moments of immediate awareness following my resurfacing does the world appear to me in that unusual atmosphere of fatality and desuetude that would surround me as soon as my trance-like hallucinations had ceased wrestling with me. The same places in the street, at home, or in the garden would invariably trigger off my "crises". Whenever I entered their space, I would succumb to the same malaise and the same dizzy spells. Like genuine invisible traps, randomly laid throughout the town, in no way different from the air around them, they would be ferociously lying in wait for me to fall pray to the special atmosphere they contained. If I took just one step, one single step into any such "accursed space", the crisis would inevitably follow. One of these spaces lay in the town park, in a small glade at the end of an alley where no one ever walked. An isolated lateral gap in the compact growth of wild rose bushes and dwarf acacias surrounding it revealed the desolate landscape of a deserted field. No place on earth was more forlorn, more dreary. Stillness would descend in heavy layers upon the dusty leaves in the stuffy heat of summer. From time to time, bugle calls from the barracks would echo through the air. Those vain protracted signals were heart-rendingly sad… in the distance, the sun-heated air was hazily shimmering, like the wreath-like vapor hanging over a boiling liquid. It was a rank and isolated place, its solitude apparently unending. The heat of the day was more exhausting to my senses in that place, the air I breathed was heavier somehow. The dust-covered bushes were basking in the yellowish glare of the sun in an atmosphere of utter solitude. A bizarre feeling of futility pervaded that glade existing "somewhere in the world", some place I had myself blundered into quite senselessly, on an equally senseless summer afternoon. An afternoon chaotically stranded in the heat of the sun, among some bushes anchored in space "somewhere in the world". It was at such moments that I would feel most profoundly and most painfully that I had nothing whatsoever to do in this world, nothing but roaming the parks – roaming dust-covered sun-burnt glades, deserted and rank. Another accursed place was all the way across the town, between the high and pocked banks of the river I used to bathe in with my playmates. There was a place where the bank had caved in. Higher up on the bank there was a sunflower oil-press. The husks were dumped in the hollow of the caved-in bank and in time the accumulated mound was so high that the dry husks had formed a slope going from the top of the bank all the way down to the water. My playmates would descend to the water down this slope, cautiously, holding hands, their feet sinking deep into the rotten carpet. The high bank walls on both sides of the slope were sheer, their surfaces torn with fantastic irregularities. Rain had carved long, arabesque-like strands of minute yet hideous cracks, like ill-healed scars. They were genuine gashes in the flesh of the clay, wounds horrendously gaping. Between these walls which I found awe-inspiring I would have to descend onto the river with the others. From afar, and long before reaching the river bank, my nostrils would be flooded by the odor of rotten husks. It prepared me for the "crisis", rather like a short period of incubation; it was an unpleasant, yet delicate smell. And so were my crises. Somewhere inside me, my olfaction would fork, and the effluvia of decay would be channeled to different areas of sensation. The viscous smell of decomposition was separate and quite distinct from the simultaneously perceived fragrance of the husks, pleasant, warm, homely and reminiscent of roasted peanuts. This fragrance, as soon as I sensed it, would transform me within a matter of seconds, thoroughly pervading all my inner fibers and apparently dissolving them in order to replace them with an airy, uncertain substance. That was the point of no return. A pleasant, inebriating swoon welled up in my breast, to the effect that my steps would hasten to the bank, the venue of my ultimate defeat. I would race to the water, mindlessly speeding down the mound of husks. The air resisted my descent with a solid razor-sharp density. The foundations of the earth would tumble chaotically in a huge hole whose powers of attraction defied imagination. My playmates would anxiously watch as I mindlessly streaked down the slope. At the bottom the strand was so narrow that one faltering step would have been enough to precipitate me into the river, in a place where the churning of the water suggested great depths. I, for my part, was largely unaware of my own doings. Once at the waterside, without breaking my run, I would swerve past the foot of the husk mound and continue to a certain place downstream when there was a hollow in the bank. A tiny grotto was to be found at the far end of that hollow, a shady cool cave, like a cell dug into the rock. I would enter it and collapse to its floor in a sweat, worn out and shivering from top to toe. As soon as my head started to clear, I would find myself in the intimate and extremely pleasant interior of the grotto with a spring oozing from the rock and dripping to the pebble floor into a crystal-clear pool; I would lean out above it and watch, without ever tiring of it, the view of the wonderful laces of the green moss on the bottom, the worms clinging to fragments of wood, the odd piece of scrap iron covered in rust and in silt, the animals and the whole variety of things on the bottom of the fantastically beautiful water. Apart from these two accursed places, the rest of the town faded away into a haze of uniform banality, with interchangeable houses, with exasperatingly immobile trees, with dogs, vacant spaces and dust. In enclosed spaces, nonetheless, the crises would occur more easily and more frequently, too. For one thing, I could never stand being on my own in an unknown room. If I had to wait, it was only a few seconds before the subtle terrible swoon overcame me. The room itself was making preparation for it: a warm, welcoming intimacy would seep through from the walls, spreading upon the furniture and all the objects. Suddenly the room attained sublimity and I would feel perfectly happy in its space. But that was no more than a further deception on the part of the crisis, one of its subtle, delicate perversions. The moments following my beatitude, everything would fall apart into a jumbled mass. I would stare wide-eyed at everything around me, but the objects were devoid of their habitual meaning: they appeared bathed in a new form of existence. As if suddenly unpacked from layers of thin transparent paper which had formerly wrapped then, their aspect became ineffably new. They appeared as meant for a whole new set of superior and fantastic purposes which, had I tried to figure out for myself, I would have been but thwarted. And that was not all: the objects would be taken with a genuine frenzy of freedom. They became independent from one another, yet with an independence that meant not only their mere isolation but also an ecstatic exaltation. The enthusiasm of existing within a new area would spread to me also: I would become tightly connected to them by invisible anastomoses which made out of me an object in the room just like others, exactly like an organ grafted on life tissue which by means of subtle exchanges of substances becomes integrated into the knew body. Once during such a crisis, the sun shed upon the wall a minute waterfall of brilliance, like an unreal golden water mottled with light. I could also see an expanse of book shelves with thick leather bound volumes somewhere beyond the window, and these detailed fragments of reality which I perceived from the remoteness of my swoon succeeded in finally making me utterly dizzy and knocking me out flat like a final inhalation of chloroform. It was the most familiar and common place features of objects that troubled me most. Being accustomed to watching them so many times had probably ended up by wearing off their external peel and thus they would appear to me from time to time utterly raw: alive, extremely alive. The peak of my crisis would unfold in a weightless glide beyond both words, pleasant and of the same time painful. At the sound of footsteps, the room would promptly revert to its former appearance.Inside its walls I would sense the beginning of a drop in intensity, a minute decrease of its exaltation, almost imperceptible; it was what convinced me that the certainty I inhabited was only separated by a very thin film from the world of uncertainties.I would find myself in the room I know only too well, sweating profusely, exhausted and overwhelmed with feeling of the uselessness of the things around me. I noticed new details as we happen sometimes to discover some previously ignored peculiarity in some object we've been using for years.A vague memory of the disaster would linger on in the room, rather like the smell of cordite in a space where an explosion occurred. I would stare at the bound volumes in the glass case and discern in their immobility, I don't know why, a perfidious air of conspiracy and complicity. The objects around me would never desist from a certain air of secrecy, which they ferociously guarded in their stern immobility.Ordinary words are no longer valid at certain levels of spiritual depth. I am trying to define my crises accurately, and all I can come up with are just images. The magic word that ought to express them would have to resort to the essence of other areas of sensitivity in life, exhaling from them like a new fragrance from a sophisticated combination of perfumes.In order to come into existence, it would have to enclose something of the stupefaction overwhelming me as I watch a person in reality and then I follow his or her gestures carefully in a mirror; then something also of the unbalance precipitating one down the bottomless chasm of a dream, with hurtling terror careering down the spine in the space of an unforgettable moment; or something of the opaque transparency inhabited by bizarre landscapes in crystal paper weights.I was envious of the people around me, hermetically sealed in their clothes and isolated from the tyranny of objects. They were imprisoned under overcoats and cloaks, yet nothing from the outside could terrorize or vanquish them, nothing could penetrate their excellent prisons. No partition existed between myself and the world. Everything that surrounded me would invade me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, as if my skin had been punctured all over. The attention, rather a form of distraction, actually, with which I was watching around was no mere act of will. The world would naturally extend within me all of its tentacles; I was living in the world I saw. Nothing could be done once against it.The "crises" equally belonged to myself and to the places in which they occurred. Some of these places, it's true, did contain a malevolence "of their own", but all the others were themselves in a trance long before my arrival. It was the case of certain rooms for instance, where I could feel my crises crystallizing from the melancholy of their immobility and their infinite solitude.The conviction that objects could be innocuous equated the terror they would sometimes inspire, as a sort of balance between myself and the world (a balance that would nonetheless plunge me even more irremediably into the uniformity of brute matter). The innocuousness of objects resided in a universal lack of forces.I vaguely sensed that nothing in this world could proceed to the end, nothing could attain perfection. Even the ferocity of objects would dwindle to extinction. Thus, I came to nurture the idea of the imperfection inherent to all manifestations in this world, supernatural ones included.In an interior monologue which, I believe, never ceased, I would sometimes defy the maleficent forces around me, just like, at other times, I would obsequiously worship them. I would practice strange rites, yet serving a purpose. If, for instance, leaving home, and going different ways, I would always return following the trace of my steps, well, I did this in order to avoid tracing with my steps a circle which enclosed houses and trees. My progress would thus resemble a thread and if, once unreeled, I have not reeled it back by retracing my steps, the objects encompassed by the loop of my walk would have stayed for ever irremediably and deeply connected to me. If, when it was raining, I would avoid touching the stones rained upon, it was in order not to add anything to the action of water and thus interfere with the exercise of its elementary powers.Fire purified everything. I would always carry in my pocket a box of matches. Whenever I was very sad, I would strike a match and pass my hands through the flame, one first, then the other.All these things contained a certain melancholy of existence and a certain ordeal otherwise normally structured within the limits of my life as a child.In time, the crises came to a natural end, yet not without leaving a powerful memory forever engraved within me.As I entered adolescence I no longer had crises, but that crepuscular state preceding them and the feeling of universal fatality following them endured as a permanent state in a way.Futility flooded the hollow of the world like a liquid spreading in all directions, while the sky above me, the constantly correct, absurd and indefinite sky, turned the right shadow of despair.Today I am still wandering in that surrounding futility and under that sky perpetually accursed. Autumn came with its red sun and its steamed up mornings. The suburban houses huddled in the light were giving off the fresh fragrance of whitewash. There were some faded out days, the sky overcast like grimy linen. The rain would patter infinitely in the deserted park. Heavy sheets of compact rain swept down the alleys with fluttering movements, as in a huge and empty hall. I was squelching through the rain-sodden grass, water streaming in torrents down my hair and my hands.In the dirty outskirts lanes, as soon as the rain stopped, doors would open and the houses breathed air in. There were humble interiors with coarsely lathed cupboards, with bunches of artificial flowers displayed upon chests of drawers, with gilded plaster of Paris statuettes, with photographs from America. Lives I knew nothing about, lost in the slightly moldy spaces of those low-ceilinged rooms, sublime in their resigned indifference.It was in such houses that I wished I had lived, letting myself imbued by their intimacy, allowing all my reveries and bouts of bitterness to dissolve in their atmosphere like in some strongly corrosive acid.I would have given anything just to enter such and such a room, treading familiarly and exhaustedly dropping onto the ancient sofa among the chintz cushions. To become possessed in there of a different air, and be myself someone else… Lying on the sofa, to contemplate the street I walked along from inside the house, from behind its curtains (and I would try hard to imagine with utmost accuracy what the street must look like from the sofa through the open door), to suddenly find within me memories I had never lived through, memories far removed from the life I was constantly carrying with me, memories pertaining to the intimacy of the gilded statuettes and the ancient lampshade with blue and violet butterflies.How right would I have felt within the limits of that cheap indifferent interior that knew nothing about me…All in front of me, the dirty lane would be spreading its muddy paste. Some houses unfolded like fans, some were white like large blocks of sugar, others small, roof pulled over their eyes, clenching their jaws like prize-fighters. I would run into wagons loaded with hay, or, all of a sudden, into extraordinary things: a man walking in the rain under the burden of a crystal chandelier, whose glassy ornaments tinkled like bells upon his shoulders, while heavy raindrops rolled off all the sparkling facets. What was it, after all, that made the world a grave place?The withered leaves and flowers in the garden were washed clean by the rain. Autumn would set them ablaze with copper, red and purple pyrotechnics, like flames that flare up one more time before they vanish. At the market, water and mud would run in loose strands out of the enormous mounds of vegetables. The severed stems of beet-roots would suddenly reveal the earth's dark red blood. Farther aside, submissive, tame potatoes lay in spread-eagled heaps, next to the chopped heads of fluffed up cabbages piled high. The plump, hideous pumpkins towered in an exasperatingly beautiful mound, their taut expanse of rind bursting with the plenitude of the sun imbibed the whole summer long. The clouds would gather at the center of the sky and then unravel, leaving rarefied spaces between them, like corridors vanishing into infinity, and sometimes huge gaps, exquisitely exposing the disquieting void constantly hanging over the town.At such times, rain would descend from afar and from a sky unbounded. I liked the altered color of damp wood, and the rusty, rain-sodden railings in front of the manicured and obedient gardens swept by the torrent-mixed wind as if by some immense horse mane.There were times when I wanted to be a dog, so as to watch that wet world from the slanting perspective of animals, head swiveled round for an upward glance. To walk closer to the ground, my eyes looked into it, tightly connected to the livid color of mud.That desire which I had harbored for a long time was released in a frenzy that autumn day on the dump…On that day my steps had carried me to the outskirts of the town, where the cattle market was held in a field.The rain sodden field lay out before me like an immense puddle of mud. The dung exhaled the acid stench of urine. Above, the sun was setting amidst a tattered canopy of gold and purple. The vast expanse of creamy tepid lay out before me. What else could then have bathed my heart in joy, but that sublimely pure expanse of dirt?At first I hesitated. The last vestiges of my education were still fighting a futile battle within me, like moribund gladiators. Yet the next moment they sank in a dark, opaque night, as I took complete leave of my senses.I stepped into the mud with one foot first. The other followed suit. My boots became pleasurably immersed in the sponge sticky dough. Now I was grown out of the mud and one with it, as if sprung from the earth. It was a sure thing now that the trees themselves were nothing but dried mud emerging from the earth crust. Their color alone was more than ample proof. Still, could it only be the trees? What about houses, what about people? Particularly people. All the people I did not mean, of course, such silly legends as "all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." That sounded too vague, too abstract, too immaterial when confronted with the mud field. People and things had sprung from that very dung and urine into which I was plunging a very concrete pair of boots.In vain had people covered themselves in their white silky skin and clothed themselves with fabrics. In vain, oh but in vain… Deep within them there lay, implacable, imperious and elementary – the mud; the tepid, rich and malodors mud. The boredom and stupidity they crammed into their lives were ample proof as well.I was myself an erect creature of mud, a missionary it had sent into this world. I was highly aware at such times of its memory stirring up within me, and remembered my nights of feverish dark tossing when my essential mud would brace itself in a futile attempt to break through to the surface. I would close my eyes, and it continued to bubble unintelligibly in obscurity…The field spread all around, replete with mud… That was my genuine flesh, all clothes peeled off, peeled to the skin, muscles peeled off as well, peeled to the mud.Its fluid sponginess and its raw odor would welcome me deeply, since I deeply belonged to them. All that separated me from its inert ancestral dirt were some purely accidental appearances, such as, for instance, the few gestures I was able to make, the hair upon my head, a smooth thin mass, or my moist sparkling eyes. That was so little, much too little against the mire's mighty majesty.I walked in all directions. My feet sank ankle deep into the mud. It was raining softly, and the sun was setting behind the curtain of bloodshot purulent clouds. Suddenly I bent down and plunged my hands into the dung. Why not? Indeed, why not? I could have screamed with joy.The paste was lukewarm and gentile, my hands traveled through it with perfect ease. When I would clench my fist, mud squirted through my fingers in lovely slabs of luscious black.What had my hands been doing till that moment? Wherewith had they been squandering their time? I trailed them at will each and every way. What had they been until that moment but miserable caged birds, tied with a frightful chain of skin and muscle to my shoulders? Pathetic birds meant for the stupid flight allowed by the odd of courtesy, learned and rehearsed as if it really mattered.Ever so slowly, they reverted to their savage ancestry and rejoiced in their primeval liberty. Now they were rolling their heads in the mud, gurgling like turtledoves, flapping their wings, ever so happy…In my joy I started fluttering them above my head, making them fly. Large drops of mud would splash against my face, upon my clothes.Why ever wipe them off? O, why, indeed? That was only the beginning; no serious consequence accompanied my deed, no shaking of the sky, no tremor of the earth. I immediately brushed a dirt coated hang against my cheek. I was seized with unspeakable joy, I hadn't had such a good time for ages. I lifted both my hands up to my face, my neck, then rubbed them on my hair.Suddenly the rain started falling in softer, denser sheets. The sun was still shedding its light upon the field like some immense chandelier at the back of a gray marble hall. Rain fell into the sun light, a golden rain, redolent of washed linen. The field was deserted. Here and there lay the odd stack of dried corn stalks the cattle had been feeding upon. I picked up one of them and started peeling it with utmost care. I was shivering with the cold and with my hands caked in mud I had a hard time fumbling with the corn leaves. Yet I was absorbed in my work. There was so much to see in dry corn stalks. At the far end of the field I saw a reed-covered shelter. I ran all the way to it and huddled under its eaves. The roof was so low my head rubbed against it. The strip of earth next to the wall was perfectly dry. I lay on the ground. Head propped against a bundle of old sacks and legs crossed, I could now dedicate myself entirely to the minute analysis of the corn stalk.I was happy for the opportunity to conduct such an exciting research work. The stalk's indentations and hollows filled me up with enthusiasm. I tore it open with my teeth and came across a soft and sweetish mass inside. That made an excellent coating for a stalk; I only wished that would have certainly made the darkness in them sweeter and easier to bear.As I was watching the corn-stalk, the silence within me was composedly laughing, as if someone inside me kept blowing soap bubbles.The sun was shining through the rain and far away in the haze the town was smoking like a rubbish dump. Several roofs and church steeples glimmered peculiarly in the wet twilight. I felt so happy I didn't know what absurd act I should commit for a start: should I analyze the stalk, should I stretch my limbs, or should I gaze at the far away town.Somewhere past my feet, where the mud started, a little frog suddenly took a few leaps. It drew closer to me at first, but changed its mind and immediately made for the open field. "Farewell, little frog," I called in its wake, "Farewell!" My heart broke at its untimely departure… "Farewell, my pretty one!…" I started improvising a lengthy valediction addressed to the little frog, and when I was done speaking, cast the corn-stalk at it, on the off-chance I'd hit it…At length, gazing constantly at the rafters above me, I closed my eyes and, tired out, fell asleep.A deep slumber took hold of me to the marrow of my bones.I dreamt I walked in glaring sunshine down the streets of a dust-suffused town with white houses; an oriental town, perhaps. I was walking next to a woman dressed in black, wearing large mourning veils. Strangely enough, the woman had no head. The veils where very neatly arranged where her head should have been, yet in its place was but a gaping hole, an empty sphere resting on her neck.We were both in a hurry and followed side by side a wagon marked with red crosses containing the corpse of the black lady's husband.I was given to understand we were living in wartime. Sure enough, we soon reached station and descended a flight of stairs to an ill-lit basement. A transport of wounded soldiers had just arrived and the nurses were hustling and bustling all over the platform with little baskets of cherries and dough-rings which they distributed to the wounded in the train.Suddenly, a fat well dressed gentleman with the ribbon of a decoration in his butter hole.He was wearing an eye-glass and white spats. His bold dome was concealed by a few strands of silvery hair. He had a white Pekinese dog in his arms, its eyes like two agate marbles afloat in oil.For a few moments he walked up and down the platform as if in search of something. He did find it at last; it was the flower vendor. He chose out of her basket several bunches of red carnations and paid for them with money he took out of an elegant, soft wallet monogrammed in silver.Then he went back to his seat and through the window I could see he had sat the dog upon the little table behind and he was feeding it, one at a time the red carnations which the animal gulped down with obvious relish…I was awakened by an awful shudder.It was raining very hard. The raindrops were pattering down next to me, and I had to huddle myself closer to the wall. The sky had turned black and the town could no longer be seen in the distance.I was cold and yet my face was burning. I was quite aware of its heat beneath the crust of caked mud. I wanted to stand up and a flash of electricity shot through my legs. They were completely numb and I had to unfold them slowly, one after the other. My socks were cold and wet.I thought of seeking refuge inside the shelter. But the door turned out to be locked, and for a window the little shed had a boarded up opening. The wind drove the rain hither and thither, and there was no place I could take over from it anymore.Evening started to fall. In but a few moments, the field sank into darkness. All the way across it, in the direction I had come from, a drinking place turned its lights on.It took only a minute to get there; I would have liked to slip in, have a drink, sit in the warmth amidst the people and the alcohol fumes. I turned my pockets upside down but found no piece of money. Outside the drinking place, the rain was tumbling down cheerfully through a reeking cloud of smoke and steam exhaling from inside.I had to take a decision, like going home for instance. Yet how?In my state of filthiness it was out of the question. Nor was I ready to renounce my filth.Unutterable anguish descended into my soul – the kind one feels on seeing nothing left to do, nothing left to accomplish.I started running down the streets in the dark, leaping across puddles, plunging my legs knee-deep in some of them.Despair rose within me for a moment as if urging me to scream and bang my head against trees. Yet almost immediately, my sorrow contracted to a calm gentle thought. I knew now what I would have to do: since there was nothing left to continue, all I could do was make a clean end of it all. What would I leave behind? A damp and ugly world, in which the rain fell slowly… I entered the house by the back door. I crept through the rooms avoiding to watch myself in the mirrors. I was searching for something quick and effective to send suddenly hurting down into darkness all that I saw and felt, the way a cartload of rocks tumble down when the rear shutter is removed.I started rummaging through the drawers in search of some powerful poison. No thought whatsoever occurred to me as I was busy searching; I just had to finish, and the sooner the better. It was like having to finish any other job.I came across all sorts of objects that were no use to my purpose: buttons, string, colored threads, pamphlets reeking of mothballs. So many things that couldn't cause a man's death. That's what the world has to offer in the most tragic moments: buttons, threads and strings…At the bottom of one drawer I came across a box of white tablets. It could be poison, just as well as it could be some innocuous medicine. Yet, I reasoned with myself, it would not matter: swallowed in a large quantity they had