The Passage

1.You open one door and there appears another, then another, and another, up to the last one – which does not even exist – and thus you find yourself at the first door – which does not even exist – and you make a round, once more, unto familiar places, as what you think has labyrinthed you out, which it has, turns into a trap and brings you to the self-same place of departure – that you should, in the end, understand the final truth to be as illusive as the first, that you should not forget your being within a hair's breadth of doom. 2. A few days after Dragosh's departure I had set out for a round – it shouldn't have been a long walking distance.I was sauntering, stopped every now and then, resting my head against a housewall, and weeping – enjoying the pose. An old man paused to ask why I was weeping and if I was in need of something."Give me half of your handkerchief, that I may put it to good use," I said,re-lodging my forehead on his shoulder, "for I am off to see my family, a mother, bewidowed – maybe on her dying bed, and an elderly sister – a dim-witted young woman."The old man gave me a horrified look, fell back and made a brush, although I had given him a truthful account of my intentions.It was a neat and necessary game, I strived for a balance; as always, the morning had brought a handful, Zenobia had walked away and left me home alone and I had tread on steps too hot and felt the need to relieve my feet, to walk them on ordinary asphalt. I was weeping, absent-mindedly, to comfort myself, with my forehead against a housewall, on the Roman Street.It was patent that I was senselessly wasting my time: save for the pitiful old man, nobody halted to inquire about my grievance; therefore, I sat on the pavement, slumocking away, tracing my thoughts. At first, an illustrious character came to my mind: I was arguing with myself that any true poet knew more about the fathoms of the soul or, at least, about those of his or her own psyche, than all volumes put together. Then somebody "more likely" sprung to my mind, pity I had to dismiss him on the steps of a cathedral; then, a third. How so: as this other of everyone made his appearance only at my beckoning, as now, at my nose-or-sweat-wiping gesture meant to settle the inner consumption of the self.Then, I saw auntie Linca on the other pavement – she had long departed, but there were others, equally deceased, passing by; I had learned to identify them. She waived her hand and took a turn next to the Tunari school, "as it seems, she is going to visit mother, maybe even wait for me," I said to myself, preparing to rush after her to ask her a few questions. As in, if she had married there, as well, if the groom, supposing he be the same, had regrown his train-severed legs while on his way to the wedding, and many more. Then, I stood up and left, I had grown weary; I made a turn at the Tunari school, towards Leonida Street, opened the rusted iron gate which gave a prolonged creek, walked across the narrow pavement of the yard (a lilac tree stood there, with three whitewash paints on the trunk) and entered the house without a previous knock.Normally, I would find my sister Zoe-Olga embroidering on pieces of cloth with red cotton thread, abstract figures I loved to insanity. She could neither write not read, I had barely managed, when I was around seven and she – around nineteen, so teach her how to draw four block letters: O, L, G, A. But, she always added an E afterwards, and signed her name OLGAE. What was more, she would very keenly listen to radio-broadcast concerts and enunciate in a highly correct pronunciation names of the musical instruments most unheard-of; now, she was alone, with her I could freely discuss anything."Is mother home," I asked."She's not in, she's lounging about," she replied.I sat on a chair, thought about resuming the conversation."Girlie," I said (as I sometimes liked to humor her), "has auntie Linca looked in?""Only just now, just a tiny bit, as she's dead," she said."What was she saying?""What would she say, poor soul… She was asking about you.""Was I here," I asked."No, you were not, but she herself was, she said you'd blow in…""Why, go to the other room and see for yourself ," I said, "maybe I was there.""I'm off," she said, obligingly.She went to the other room, came back in a flash."You were not there," she said."Meaning I'm here," I added."Yes," she confirmed.I kept quiet for a while, then I asked her again:"Besides auntie Linca, has anyone else looked for me?""Yes, Constantin, also given up the ghost, wearing a coat and a hat, he was.""If he stops in again, tell him to search for me on the street. Will you remember that?""Yes.""Better jot that down, lest you should forget" ( I handed her a scrap of paper and a used pencil – she scrupulously scribbled a few hieroglyphs on the slip). "When mother comes, you tell her that I'm bound to drop by again, on her birthday, and bring her a present…""And, what will you bring me, when I'm dead?""A bride's dress. Put this down, so that I do not forget."She wrote it down, as scrupulously as before, same hieroglyphs, adding her signature: OLGAE; her eyes were gleaming with joy. I stretched out on the ottoman, in an instant I fell asleep; it was gratifying to sit there, a pleasant breeze came in through the open windows, the thin curtains were dangling… 3. On the way home I thought of friends, most of them lowlifes – I had developed an affection for some of them, met them in my own fashion, in other words, I was circumambulating the streets until one of them would show up, come straight to me, no idea in his head that I had planned an encounter; sometimes I thought of one in particular, immaterial of whom, I just expected to see whom I would meet in that particular frame of mind, (I should, perhaps, dismantle a mite of the afflictive mechanism of failure, but I prefer to forget it instead). Encounters with specific creatures I had practiced for a long time, from my teenage years, when I was besotted with a puny, scrawny creature, had learned her name but did not know her whereabouts, I would set off, turn right or left, guided by a type of luminosity, upon meeting her I would not utter a word, I barely accosted her.It all had started with a few choked matches, thrown in a barren fireplace, but I will not dwell on that. Then, I set the appointments with those I would so call "the Balkan princes," they passed me by assured that they were off to parades, moving like epileptic particles; at that time, I enjoyed frequenting a large stadium where I installed myself one hour ahead the arrival of the first people, to watch it crowd whilst the people, convinced they took an individually chosen seat, ignorant of the terrible law of crowding that drove them according to its laws, drowned away in the sad quantum waters of the entity.In time, I came to grow weary of these exercises; in fact, in such concerns, mind you, exaggerations and the practice of force have not been a tempting option, other than in moments of weakness and self-consciousness.Maybe it is such a moment I am traversing even now as I write (as it seems, I am writing) these atrocious lines, which are not worth a groat to me. * In Baigorra (Argentina), at the storm-tossed root of a tree, gigantic ants, around five times the size of regular ones, have been discovered. 4. Hence, on my way home I thought about friends prior to setting off for the swamps; thus, Constantin had died, memory eternal, then he had searched for me on Leonida street, had something to settle with me.This scrawny creature with a bird's head something in-between turkey and chicken, the nose like a flaccid beak hanging down his mouth, this scoundrel of a dead man, dwarfish and scrubby, his hair always pomaded, clothes of a blameless elegance, this perfect product of the promiscuous zone spawned by Nature in compensation, and spewed, a mystery, on the other side of her, had made its appearance in my life when I was about eighteen years, maybe for compensation needs, or because, out of a strange coincidence, we both bore the same last name.At that time I seemed to have a surplus of energy which had to be spent and went to play rugby every third day, Thursdays in training, Sundays for the match. I was the youngest in the team, a decent forward. After the game, the boys would go for a beer, take the tram. They kept the door open, spitting on girls' dresses, had a smashing time and ended up at a movie theatre or God-knows-where-else. In the meantime, I called on a friend, a female lawyer much older than I (she had turned twenty-four), a completely white-haired beauty. She used to wipe off my broken arches and flayed shoulder blades, then we made love.Once, on an autumn Sunday, Constantin made his appearance in a splendid white jersey, after the game, in the showers. I had seen him before going round the area; Gică Wirth, who was right wing for the opposing team, told him:"Hey, wanky, give me that sweater, fancy trying it on."Constantin took off his jersey and handed it to him, Gică Wirth polished his buffalo shoes with it and then threw it to his head; the others were laughing. Constantin looked happy, I could have kicked him in the a--… I'm in the category of those who cry when they watch films even if they realize they should be laughing their heart out: but I took pity on him, he was too pathetic, I did not say anything and minded my own business. On leaving, I found myself next to him. He was smiling. "Whereabouts do you live," he asked."What do you care," I answered."No, wait," he said, "I've known you for ages, even have your picture from a newspaper clipping with prize-winning pupils – you were young; there's also my photograph there, I had won a prize, as well. Kept it because we both had something in common: the same family name; if you don't have it, I'll give it to you, I'll clip it out with my scissors and give it to you.""I'm 5 Leonida Street," I told him, "bring it in the evening, because I don't have it; but why are you so wretched, and let those… ridicule you?""I put up with it because I'm ill-favored," he confessed, "you can well afford it because you are handsome. But I love a woman, I am madly in love with her and she does not fancy me – then, I look at you and I imitate you, to move her. What is more, I spend all I have on clothes; every now and then I lay up two or three wages – don't ask me how – I pay her a visit, she thinks I'm loaded. The misfortune is that every time I return from her with a disease, and have to wait until I'm cured, then I go again: otherwise I'd die.""I like you," I said, "and now, skedaddle. Drop by tonight; if I'm not in, leave the photo, we'll talk some other time, now I'm busy…"In the evening, round eight, Constantin brought me the photo – I was not there, he left it, it was a yellowish clipping from "The Morning," I tore it up. It showed a child in a wretched jersey, wearing a flower coronet on his right arm and looking askance at the universe – it was I. 5. At about that time I moved and lived alone, for a while, on a fairly long corridor I always used to cross at a running, never at a walking pace. That was a dark and fairly sordid corridor: on the right as you stepped in – the servants' rooms (women relocated from the heart of the mountains, I could hear them in the morning, before work, recount their dreams in their native dialect, dreams which were featured by black bulls who goaded their horns on the windows of the eighth of nine storey, not sure which). On the right: the communal shower, preferably used on Saturdays, the common water closet and the common sink, plus the abode of a young painter who had grown a beard and used to pray with his door wide-open, so everybody could see him (but the mountaineers wouldn't be fooled that easy […], they used to secretly cross themselves). He had a sweetheart – a student, who visited him during her class time, brought him food in her satchel and was fiercely beaten up and so on, there was a whole love drama unfolding.I forgot to tell you that at the end of that corridor at the topmost floor of that building, at the junction of the Old Man's Road and the Princess Boulevard, I inhabited a tiny room in which I sometimes was visited by creatures with luminous hands and translucent faces. I will not mention them very profusely, they would have seemed to be visions if tangible traces hadn't been left behind. We would talk for hours. Once, for example, they brought me a sack of potatoes, tippled it in the middle of the room. For a long time I would eat boiled, unsalted potatoes exclusively – they were good. If somebody asked about those potatoes piled up in the middle of the room, I would, for instance, say that a cousin from the countryside, from county Prahova, had sent them, and nobody would raise an eyebrow.At that time, I usually ate eggplants, please bear that detail in mind. Highly non-recommendable vegetable; I had a round balcony with a spider-line hanging from the ceiling; I would cut the eggplants into slices, string them on a rope, next to the line, then they dried out. Then I'd set the water boiling, using enough water to hold them, took the dried eggplants which were as light as a feather, put them in the boiling water, let them simmer for 10-15 minutes and ate them, unsalted – they didn't taste well. Also on that balcony I dried my leaves for my pipe smoke, I have tried out all sorts of leaves: only the quince ones were any good, although, even they had the drawback that they left a black and disagreeable oil in the pipe, so that, in the end, I tried to procure tobacco.When I give these receipts, useful under certain circumstances, I wouldn't want people to think that I was poor, although at times I did not even have a shirt to wear, which didn't look bad on me, and didn't have tobacco, which was worse. I never had the distinct feeling of poverty, was uninterested in such matters, I can even say I was a little bit of a snob as my only glass, that in which I drank the common sink-water, was baccarat, and my only plate, that in which I ate my eggplants and my unsalted potatoes, were, prey remember this insignificant detail, marked on the backside with the signature of finest English china. * Plato's celebrated olive tree was replanted in the original place, after being uprooted by a bus. The experts confirmed that the age of the tree goes beyond 2500 years. 6. On that corridor I was somewhat spied by an elderly bride, a Viennese lady, about forty-two, becomingly peroxided. Her door was situated towards the end of the corridor, next to my slightly skew room; the woman was sharing her lodgings with her mother, whose veteran ailing moans I would hear night and day. Maybe I fudge when I say she was spying, maybe it was a matter of simple coincidence, but: every morning I went shopping for bread or eggplants the lady in question (approximately named Gerda) would exit her room, to greet me.In her right hand, she would hold the chamber pot, in her left, a clove of garlic."You see how p-h-ope-h I am," she said every time (she should have pronounced "proper" but had a terrible trill), "you see how p-h-ope-h I am? I'm washing even the ga-h-lic that shouldn't be washed because it's lodged in its coat – neve-h-theless, still I wash it.""Madam," said I, as she flushed the nocturnal contents of the pot into the communal sink, "I duly value this action committed in the name of hygiene, so much so as I myself cannot claim to be very proper, although, I am pure," and many more such displays of courtesy.One morning, after drawing my attention again to the fact that she was extremely salubrious, Madam Gerda added:"You should now that I am like a siste-h to you you can count on, although I'm c-h-oss with you because I saw you ba-h-efooted yesterday, in the st-h-eet; why a-h you walking ba-h-efooted?""Madam," I said, "these matutinal conversations here, on the corridor, elevate my spirit, therefore I shall explain myself: I was going to have my sandals mended.""H-ight, h-ight," she said, "neve-h-theless, also yeste-h-day you left the doo-h aja-h and we-h-e naked, why a-h-e you naked with you-h doo-h open, that is not a good thing.""I was reading a book, ma'am, by a fellow called Kierkegaard, I can lend it to you if you wish.""Pretty thankyou," she retorted, "at the moment I'm h-eading another-h novel."After she flushed the pot into the sink and ostentatiously washed out the garlic, Madam Gerda turned towards me and whispered mysteriously:"I have lea-h-ned that you w-h-ite...""Yes, ma'am," I confessed, "I very amply write.""What do you w-h-ite," she inquired. "And, whe-h-fo-h-e do you w-h-ite?""It's an inborn infirmity, madam, it befalls me, just like that," I explained. "I have my feelings, I always wish to cry when I talk of this, I cannot verbalize it very well, if you could lend me your pot for one minute I would weep in it as if it were a larmier, and perhaps you'd understand…""You may c-h-y," she condoned, "I am like a siste-h to you," and handed me the pot.I grabbed the pot and cried in it, as I had to, the circumstances dictated it – anyhow, I was crying into the chamber pot, as a means of expressing myself, and the tears were trickling, I had roamed all night in splendiferous circles, I wanted to escape the memory of an all too afflictive serenity, weeping like a child, about to die laughing, telling myself: "Stupid, go and buy eggplants or vagabond the streets or blasting go to the pictures.""A-h you in pain," madam Gerda asked worriedly."I am, madam Gerda, why should I not be? I fall into a kind of trance, of beatitude, harder to bear than any pain. Then one horror torments me, comforting and horrid at the same time: that I should not pulverize. To you I may say that, because you are like a sister to me – then I float (do not be scared). Here you are, your pot, I couldn't fill it, but I'm past that, I'm off to buy eggplants and bread…""You should be seen by a docto-h," madam Gerda asserted, "if you wish, I can take you…""Madam Gerda, you are too kind; on account of the innocence you possess in spite of your age (of course, I think of you as a virgin and, pray you, do not interpret this the wrong way), you should, like Phoenician angels, have three pairs of wings: one to shroud your face with, one to cover your legs with, and one to fly with. In that case, if you permit, I would play house on your shoulder blades and, maybe, I'd even go to the doctor's.""Still I conside-h you ill," madam Gerda said, as she walked into her room with a dignified pace. 7. Then, for a while, I'd turn deaf, it was fantabulous, I did not hear a thing, had developed solid cerumen; I was like a bottle filled with the pure and unfettered simplicity of my state; simply pointing towards my ear: "I'm deaf, one cannot help it!" and an innocent smile, and the others would understand, some commiserated, although seemingly happy they had a good hearing. I had gone away with it, the others were only too free to have their say in the mosaic of pre-printed questions and answers, to theorize about their theories, to hack the sonorous cabbage amongst the sweet pleasures of drill.The misfortune is that, one day, pop, the ear wax burst, and I started to hear again; I could have, in turn, not spoken, self-silenced myself, but it seemed rubbish, it would have been dishonest and, however one may grow oneself into dumbness, one can still hear the words, they insinuate themselves impetuously into the marrow, therefore, I minded my own business. 8. Once, a long time ago, I was standing in a field of corn; it was drawing towards autumn, the corn had dried; there, in the middle of the field, lay a smithy's shed, and, twenty feet away, a tiny house, a sort of reed-thatched hut. I was sitting next to the smith, who hammered away at a red-hot horseshoe, and could, in-between the pounding, hear the rustle of the corn.Then, Bach in person started to play the cembalo, in the house, I don't know whether you've ever heard Bach improvise in the shed, on the cembalo, against a rustling field of dry corn. The sounds were scattering like vapors, they had pervading the heavens – I was dumbfounded."Who is playing?" I asked the smith."It's my son-in-law," he answered, "at night he plays at the restaurant, in Bucharest, now he essercises…"After a while, the sounds faded away and Bach made his appearance in the doorway, wearing striped pyjamas; he was younger, looked livid, his eyes were hazed with ecstasy, he was staggering from the music. I felt sorry he didn't speak, I would have wanted to hear his words, or, what one could utter in such a state. Then a two or three-year old girl rushed from the corn, tottered and fell at Bach's feet, and Bach, from beyond his dream, from the drunkenness of harmonies, told her: "Mind you, I'll slap you now, you have sh…ed yourself again…"These were his words. […] * The population of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, an archipelago in the West Atlantic Ocean, has been witnessing for some days, without being able to intervene, the agony of 63 cetaceans known under the name of Steno rostratus, who had been washed on the deserted shore of the archipelago. 10. Thus, when I was racing galled and repulsed along the corridor, I drifted one entire night and growled too loud, as it seems, as, on the following day, upon greeting me by the sink, after reminding me how proper she was and after remarking the bandage that covered my right fist, Madam Gerda asked:"We-h-e you sick last night?""No. Why?""Because I hea-h-d you speak to you-h-self, it looked as though you we-h-e h-ambling.""I wasn't rambling, Madam Gerda, I must have talked in my sleep.""It can't be," Madam Gerda said, "you we-h-en't sleeping, you we-h-e banging you-h-self against the wall, I hea-h-d that.""Maybe, Madam Gerda, I have knocked against the wall in my sleep; please don't tell anyone else – I am, on top of it, a sleepwalker, and have moments of wakefulness…""I know how to keep a sec-h-et," Madam Gerda re-assured me, "I also suffer from insomnia, though I'm not a sleepwalke-h, but – if something like last night should happen again, knock on my wall, and we go out the co-h-ido-h, sit and chat…""You are extremely kind, Madam Gerda, I must admit, but I'm very much afraid there is nothing to be said, at night, by the two of us, on the corridor or anywhere else, because, you know, when I'm in a state as I was last night, I do not use words in a conversation, I confine myself to letters. Ergo, instead of a word in Romanian which we both master so well, I feel, God knows why, the urge to use one sole letter from that word, and even that, translated into another language…""Don't you by any chance have the feve-h," Madam Gerda asked."I might well have that, Madam Gerda, why shouldn't I? But, what I tell you is the simple truth, sometimes I find myself in a state wherefrom I wish to communicate, and then, bang, words come to me, but that state – if I am seduced by words – blasting fades away, and only under those circumstances would you approve of it because you may come to recognize something familiar in my utterance, whereas I, ever since I was born, have got it into my head that I must convey forgotten things, from a region where my sensitivity might encounter the great universal sensitivity which has been lost on the way. Pray forgive the employment of the word 'sensitivity', I could weep for distress – it is actually quite a different thing, but you see, this is who I am and I cannot help it; this way you yourself can, to a certain extent, appreciate, or, at least, have an inkling of something. I know you to be well-read, you yourself have ascertained it by confiding that you h-ead novels, but this is a question not of literature or of words, I am not in the least interested in literature and words, therefore I would not use the word 'sensitivity' or any other hokum, because now a Kurdish word, or, from another language, comes to mind, God knows how it has sprung to my mind, but it has; and, at times, only one letter or the initial of a word is actualized (take, for example, the letter U: if Gothic, to me it abbreviates, purifies and expresses, if you'd excuse that, the Unknown, I think it has to do with 'Unbekannt', do you see the connection? You see where the blasted springs from?) And you – although you have not confessed it yet – have a very fan ear for music, I can sense you do, to you it is as though you went to the opera and, instead of walking your chalks before the overture, you sit in expectation in your chair and can hardly wait for that aria to be sung which you know by heart (a-a-di-i-o del pa-ssa-a-to!), and when that aria comes, you hum it with an outmost satisfaction because you know it. And you do not know, that precisely what you know prevents you from knowing, whereas I must apologize for this inept verbosity and I admire you for the patience with which you have listened to me. Amen.""Never-h-theless, I am convinced you have the feve-h, maybe from this bandaged fist, let me see," said Madam Gerda.And, abandoning the chamber pot, she placed her highly comforting fingers on my cheeks."Take your hands off me," I yelled, so stentoriously that, at the other end of the corridor, the echo answered: "…off me…""Oh," Madam Gerda cried, baffled at my unexpected crudity, "but I am like a siste-h to you ...""Sisters like yourself I have seen before plenty, Madam Gerda. For instance, there was one, Madam Ojog, of your present age when I had barely turned fourteen; she had come from America, smoked cigars, played poker with my mother, had a doggie, Buster, a filthy, hairless cur. One evening, after the game, she said she was tired of walking the streets alone, home, mother says, never mind, Gellu will see you off, which I did. On the way home she spoke of this and that, the escorting Buster – wagging his tail, one could say, rubbing his paws in expectation of an ensuing affair. At the gate, Madam Ojog said: "I would invite you inside for a good cigar, I know you smoke like a fiend, don't pretend, you shouldn't. You can trust me, because I consider you to be a mature boy and am as a sister to you, but my husband is off in the provinces and… what would the neighbors say?" I muttered God-knows-what and, when I packed off from her bed, I don't know how I managed to get home, kept thinking she was a friend of my mother's […].""Oh-my," Madam Gerda remarked, "you're being indecent…""An idiot is what you are," I retorted, "how am I indecent? Things like these are too complicated for your pot, that is why you find them indecent; it is their appearance, as the appearance of apparent things is to seem decent, just look here: let me give you an example, let me tell you something that happened yesterday, and if you have a decently alert mind, you will understand why I was reminded of Madam Ojog and her Buster precisely at this time, subsequent to the sublime moments of last night. Thus: I was walking yesterday on the street, with a fresh shave, no bandage on my hand, clean socks, and a girl followed me round for about one hour.I am not in the habit of pursuing girls on the street. No, I'm not in that habit. But I enjoyed it: made me think about a fellow called The Turk, an upholsterer in Vasile Lascăr Street who, damn him, wears four-in-hand and locks and one could swear he's at least Novalis; though he is round forty and short and stout but that doesn't count – girls are after him, asking for autographs, think he's a p-h-oet whereas I present myself with a short cut, or with no cut at all, ergo, nobody asks me an autograph. Sometimes The Turk puts my soul out, therefore yesterday, when that girl followed me, I was extremely elated, thinking: "Alas, she must have fallen into the snares of The Turk once or twice, and now she's learned her lesson, now she knows a p-h-oet when she sees one. Just fancy, she most certainly is an admirer, she ought to know at least my last p-h-oem by heart, the not yet published p-h-oem entitled The Boots of Gheorghe Lazăr or a couple of verses from another p-h-oem of mine, also unpublished, like because my woman does not rain or locusts are the most Constantine. I was waiting for her to recite them and tell me: "Has the cat caught your tongue, say something, if you can now!" I had stopped by a wall, honestly, it was a solace for my fleeced being and I stared, into vacancy, half-face, when she took heart and handed me the fountain pen and a scrap of paper, and asked, in English, for an autograph.Upon this, my solicitude enlivened, a suspicion started to germinate in my mind, I smashed my fist against the wall I was leaning on, so hard that I hurt it, then I asked:"Why, may I ask?"She looked a bit alarmed, because a streak of blood was trickling down from my fist, and asked me if I wasn't a certain Buster Crabbe, a movie actor who had played Tarzan and was my spitting image, she said. She had just seen his picture in a specialized magazine in which she had read that that Buster Crabbe would be in Bucharest and, she had thought that…Upon which, I told her that that Buster Crabbe wasn't worth a rap compared to a certain Buster Ojog, a being I had met several years before and who might have been my spitting image although in the habit of wagging his tail […]. Let me tell you…"But Madam Gerda did not let me 'tell her' and took refuge in her room, wherefrom I heard her lock the door amidst the moans of her ailing old mother. 11. Now, if you review, it might seem to you that I talk a mite to much and too indelicately about non-essential things; also, you might be vexed at the proportions a certain Madam Gerda or characters of her kind have assumed, and which are not in the least negligible in my existence. You might even explain it by my intention to obscure the happenings in the beyond – at the other end of the corridor, for instance, where, as it were, the apparent ceased to exist as such, where I deemed myself the hub of the universe, a crucial and wretched hub, I shall not dwell on that.Thus, a character that was not I, and a corridor, on which I have never vagabonded, could become manifest. Anyhow, by ignoring my innée delicacy and the surrounding stenches of existence, a somewhat crude boy might emerge in my place, a thing which leaves me indifferent, whereas I, on this gelid October day on which I am writing, will abandon the room for a while and the tedious ritual of evoking. I shall, prompted by a real human necessity, make for the back of the yard where a newly arrived bird from the North of the earth will smile at my blamelessness and tell me news about a realm with no "up" and "down." * The scientific research unit Widzel, in the extreme Northern part of Sweden, has suffered a real siegeon the part of approximately 30 polar bears. The bears kept the scientists under strict observation who, at the fall of night, still did not dare to leave the unit. It seems that the animals wished to regain their ancestral privileges over this area, which was one of their main territories, by forcing the scientists out. 12. At about the time of the corridor, I had to live in another forest for ten days. I was given a horse, used to water him with a cloth bag from the spring in the immediate vicinity, curry him. I fed him an oat bag, slept next to him, at night it was cold; I often woke up, my head in a steaming dunghill; I would eat the modest provisions I disposed of, all these – in a space confined to four square meters, beyond which, on the watch: death.I was sitting there on the stratum of damp leaves layered along the years, sometimes it rained, and I would cover my head with a filthy blanket produced from under the saddle; one day, I started to scratch the layer underneath, clearing aside the putrid leaves; at about twenty centimeters the time and water-gnawed leaves started to look like lacework, embroidery and filigrees. I lifted them two-fingered against the mellow light pervading the tree branches, and looked at them for minutes, they retaliated me for my sad existence. In those four-square meters at whose borne death was spying, lay the miracle. It was enough to scratch underneath… 13. In the corridor age, I sometimes chanced to visit one friend or the other; I knocked on the door, entered, circled the table and left immediately, or stayed – if I happened to stay, how finely would I converse about the terrible curses that afflicted p-h-oetry or, God-knows about what else, whilst poetry would continue to consume itself under the perfect spell cast by far more experienced monsters. Other times, if tired, I would rest on a handy couch and sleep until awoken by the whispers of my friend who would , for example, speechify again on the misery of p-h-oetry. Then I would howl off the couch: "Dry uppp!" and the friend would be silenced, under the impression that I was terrorizing him.Naturally, I was also visiting girls, will not dwell on that. I will confine myself to telling you that in Maria's studio I would pass decent hours, soliloquizing about anything in her presence, about how bad it was in the world, about love and liberty; I would often recall the motto embroidered on Marat's vest: "Vivre libre ou mourir!" I enjoyed speaking in her presence, was polite and bland, didn't even kiss her. She would be silent and sighing; better, I would have cried, I think that she would have willingly comforted me. The lady lawyer had permanently left for Moldavia, and, like a character, I saw her off at the station, we embraced on parting, she said: "Take care," I smiled – for a long time I had a frozen heart. Soon, I was invited by a girl in a great villa – her parents were away – when I kissed her, her face flushed, her lips went dry – shrunk, as if with fever, so much so that I bolted away, and so on.Then, on another night, when I was cutting through The Icon's Garden on my way home feeling moist and sad like a dog thrown into the gutter, I met one of my cousins (later, he would die in a blast, there wouldn't be anything left of him but the boots). That autumn night he was sitting on a bench, next to his sweetheart, trying to convince her to do great deeds which she stubbornly declined; I was weary and cold, seated myself next to them, on the bench, my cousin introduced me to the girl, which was fine with me, she said she was glad to meet me, that she knew me by sight, I told her: good for her – was thinking about leaving, about letting them be. My cousin resumed in trying to convince her – they bored me, I was chilly, told that girl to come with me and make love and she came.14. In enumerating all these insignificant, base actions present in most of our teenage years, I am, in fact, invoking the image of a bed spread with lilies to which a path through musty residues and excrements leads. Maybe it is their mission to alleviate the fiery inward rays to a degree of tolerance, maybe my verbosity feeds the force of silence in foreboded in everybody, which in the reverse unveils the other-ness – where measure, all measure, is an illusion, and so on.What is more, when serene and silent, one can hear beyond the wails of the world, and then a p-h-oem is born, or a florist painting, because, as I said before, nothing, on the meadows of wisdom, reaches the other-ness other than what may and must. *The Supreme Court in Bentong (Malaysia) was forced to adjourn its sessions for several days due to a caterpillar invasion which literallybesieged the building climbing the walls, ceilings, doors, covering thefloors and the entire furniture. It took several days until the millionsof caterpillars could be cleared out.15. Temporarily, at about the same time I lived, in a village on the banks of the Somesh; I was terribly sick, trudging away on the lanes leaning against fences, ate nothing else except unsalted potatoes, nothing else, please bear that detail in mind. I didn't speak to a soul; locals looked at me as if they'd seen a ghost.In a few weeks' time, when I started to regain my strength, a young lady from the Classical Philology Department of the Bucharest University came on a visit, she was cared for me and found me extra-filthy, with a potato-inflated stomach. We went out for a walk, in the fields, among daisies and poppies, until we reached the grass line, so green that it seemed moist, discussed this and that, classical things, mainly. She had brought me books to read, I could barely stand on my feet but was conversing very cleverly and bumptiously, voicing my stand about Theodore of Cyrus also known as the Atheist, and later, as the God, about Hypparchia of Maronea. I exercised a certain amount of caution regarding their lives and their behavioral blunders, exempli gratia: the merits of spit – the young lady did not have anything to do with it, no guilt on her part, whatsoever.And, unexpectedly, behold, the flatulence prompted by my purging, nevertheless, one-sided nutrition started pressuring my bladder; I wanted to die, growing mad with embarrassment; there would have been two alternatives – one, a hasty disposal of the bladder liquid, the other, of a sonorous kind, the equally hasty dispersion of gas, both unconceivable in front of a girl from The Classical Philology Department.Soon enough, as it all started to be unbearable, I flung myself facedown, pounding against the grass, moaning as sonorously as I could, because I couldn't help myself opt for the noisy, infamous and degrading version, not to be camouflaged by my groans. The young lady stared at me transfixed and scared."Do not mistake one for the other," I shouted, "when I speak of Theodore I strictly have in view his way of life, or state, and not his ideas. Do not place me in his or in any other category, do not put me in a box, remember," I vociferated – as I (uselessly) attempted to cover everything – "do not label me, I stifle if I utter one single name from those blasted books you brought so you can label me; know this: I read to see, to recognize, not to learn. Know this: I do not lead my life according to pro's and con's, as you do, in your trap-life!" (I was yelling increasingly rabid). "Know this: I am on the outside, and, please take your leave, as soon as you can; go to the railway station, let me be…"The young lady tried to be of help, did not know how she should go about it, but, I had soon overcome my fit and we resumed our stroll as if nothing had happened; on the contrary, I think she found these hours spent with a p-h-oet to be pleasant, on fields of daisies and poppies.[…] *In the Western region of the state of Kentucky a massive upsurge has been