To clarify the unities of place, time and action in this world: here, now and thus, when one can no longer believe in the laws of happening, because this place is not in the now, and this now does not thus give temporality to the here. The present reality of things past acquires the dubious perspective of dream: once upon a time in the middle of the courtyard with the blasted wild morello tree, opposite the withered plum-tree, and somewhere to the rear with that slimy, old yet noble Spanish morello, the one which has perhaps been there, in your memory, since the time of the great Spanish epidemics or the Conquistadors. Above the roof the partition-wall stands proudly between your eleven Gipsy foster-brothers of princely name and you, who, with ever stronger arm, are methodically knocking off the gray render between the two chimneys with your ball, wrathfully besieging that fortress which draws the line between you and the free, meanwhile you watch out of the corner of your eye the summer doors of the house, closed for the siesta, in case you see a living person peering out through the cracks, but only order governed by idleness sleeps its customary sleep, and your long-dead young brother sidles up to you to kick you craftily on the shin, awakening in you the urge to form a relationship. Now you are nearly as old as Christ was, and you no longer find odd the sock that has slipped down, your hand that flings the rubber ball harder and harder: you are nearly thirty-three, though barely turned fifteen, with no-one around you in the yard and in memory all your kindred are asleep; the forebears of your fifteen years, the descendant(s) of your thirty-three, and everyone in the courtyard, too, including the old lady with the flyaway hair who lives quietly right at the back, the widow of a deceased writer, put on the Index years ago, who is likewise sleeping her sleep of early afternoon and this night in the den converted from your great-grandfather and grandfather's glue-scented cobbler's workshop into a room.But wait, who is this here?! How does she come to be here, this girl, at the peasant-Biedermeier table behind the window of the long-repaired workshop, in the fading music of the ringing of the small change of bezique sessions of old, this girl, who, like you, would soon be as old as Christ was, were she not dreamily looking through the window which reflects the setting sun, screened by the branches of the Spanish morello, into a time now become endless. Only outside is there a little uncertain light; in the room the widow of the writer of the misty past brushes her nose against her scent retaining bound volumes, and, because she imagines it to be a memory of her erstwhile self, is not startled at the girl's face dreaming in the window, peering at a greenish twilight after the setting sun, a darkness and a summons deep as the sea.This is the hour of closing-times, when the dingy brown painted folding doors of little suburban shops await the lock-rail, when from the shelf of the solitary corner shop there slowly, cautiously topples a bottle of raspberry juice, lands on the concrete with a quiet thud, goes round the counter and rolls out unnoticed through the quietly closing door into the gloom, runs across the flagstones, and if a belated passer-by were to present himself it would carefully avoid him too before shuffling in through the slightly open gate, away between the wild morello and the withered plum, swerving a little by the resinous trunk of the noble Spanish morello so as to sidle in through the cracked door of the former workshop. In the gloom the writer's widow is still bent over her books, redolent of the overpowering scent of ages, reminiscent of the backs of curly-fleeced sheep, sheared to summer state, when the clumsy bottle of raspberry juice leaps onto the peasant-Biedermeier table before her two clear, and for that very reason impenetrable, green eyes. The pair of eyes flare up contentedly, the final, green flash of the twilight. Seeing your perplexity she calls from the shadows: "I knew it would come!" You open wide your eyes, the room is now filled with darkness, but you can still see what flickers in it: the widow of the writer that was put on the Index before her books that resemble shorn sheep, and the green-eyed one, before her the bottle of raspberry juice; the girl, as she might have been at fifteen and thirty-three, and you ask:"Do you like raspberry juice?" "Really," she says, "I was only going to try it." "Why, if you don't like it?.. " "Just to see whether it'd come." "It did." "I knew." That was all. You did not attach any more particular importance to the matter. It was natural: she had tried and been successful. When you went farther in, the wife of the deceased writer was still bent over her history-misted books in which the heroic past seemed as natural as you two sitting behind her in a pose that recalled her youth and was conceivable even now, looking, engrossed, at the full bottle of raspberry juice there, at the table that retained the memory of the ringing of small-change of old, erstwhile beziquings, and it did not even cross your minds to taste the luxury drink of foul weather."Well really..." you said."Quite. I didn't want to believe it, but I was sure when I chose it in the morning. I knew it would be like that, but I wouldn't have believed it... rationally. After that I've nothing left to learn. It was high time I realized that too." She spoke, laughed, wept with her upper lip. The lower one, with independent rigidity, did not relate to this strongly arched lip, full of expressiveness; for weeping, smiling, scorn, only the full, arched upper lip moved, the constancy of the lower seemed to draw down the calm, clear and for that very reason impenetrable green of the eyes; so much in her face was in unison, the other features concealed a now stifled deceitfulness. This face was the very picture of chance, derisive of everyday expediency and intelligence accessible to all. Nor did she need any of that: she could in theory attain everything that she desired, but fortunately – for the time being – she did not desire much, only wished to make certain of her power. That power still only meant to her amusement independent of society."When did you realize?" you asked, as dispassionately as a simple, pure man probes the superstitious world of myth."In the morning, I think. But a long time ago, very long, when I'd never even read of such a thing. Then too I could feel that I had it in me. Or not in me, but somewhere outside me. As if someone outside me were directing things through me. And now here it is..." she pointed in front of her, not touching the bottle out of some childish respect. "I met it in the morning. I'd gone into the shop to get a bottle of mineral water, for her," and she gestured behind her back, where the silver-haired widow of the deceased writer, bending forward, her back aslant, her mouth moving in unfinished words, quivering in silent murmurs, in a posture memorable for some reason, meaningless certainly to another, was frozen into time. "There, then, I saw the bottle. I looked at it for a long time, and finally old Juli asked whether I wanted to buy it. I nearly ran away, but then I glanced at it again... And that's how it started, but not now. This was just proof." You see, you see with almost the all-embracing precision of an introductory experiment, the bottle of raspberry juice fall from the lower shelf with a quiet thud, and something in a pale green force-field of uncertain outline sets off shuffling down the twilight street, like something being called. "Have you tried it on anything else?" She shudders, tosses her head back a little with its luxuriant hair. Her independent upper lip quivers."No. It scares me. It's so simple. When I touch anything with my glance it's mine, becomes mine right away..." She stops, her eyes downcast, only rarely, at moments of absolute necessity brushing you with her glance, from somewhere underneath, avoiding your eyes; her gaze seeking refuge on the edge of your field of vision in the play of swaying green shadows."Be afraid of me," she said once, much later. If you search closely you can discover traces of slow decay in her feline face which has otherwise lost none of its proportions. The silver-haired writer widow is still babbling soundlessly in the same posture involving slight dislocation of the hip, becoming more and more engrossed in her books that recall the feel of the wool of lambs shorn at the end of spring, wafting the scent of now distant pine-forests, in the gloom of the place that has been knocked into a room, lit only by the white of her hair and the bands and title-pages of the books. "Let the old lady go," you groaned, and of course did not have to explain, she had surely grasped your thought more quickly that you could have spoken it."I no longer have any power over her," she said then, but now she looks with satisfaction at the full bottle of raspberry juice, meanwhile the evening summons up your courage for things beyond facts:"Make it always be like that," you say, and after a tiny hesitation a pale green flickering in the dark indicates that she has entered into the spirit of the thing: in the halo of the green, vibrating mirage the old lady is being "orientated" into time, and henceforth will only exist so. The room that had been converted from the former workshop has had its "epochs". You can still see your grandfather as a young man, after the day's work, in the window that looks to the south, the curved awl in his hand, the long line of his lips picked out in wooden pegs, an almost finished shoe on the last displaying the unworn sole, the stubby fingers – so it seemed – taking each peg from the corner of his mouth with fiendish dexterity, two taps of the hammer, one weaker, the other harder, another peg, two taps... the cobbler's hammer stops suddenly in mid-air, the pegs tremble between the lips, the old, cheap cap-pistol goes off in your hand, whereupon the country militiaman is upon you at the double, this time there is no bullying, only a painful smile playing round his lips, and now on the following Sundays only the four old men in white shirts and braces swear as they play cards, yellow small-change rattles and rings on the glass-covered surface of the peasant-Biedermeier table, a half liter bottle of marc pours forth its overpowering, nauseating scent, which reaches you wreathed in the smoke from military cigars, each one accompanied by "Holy Virgin and the seven saints!", mild enough as curses go, when a bezique arches to strike the table and the mustachioed face smiles in blissful satisfaction, but meanwhile, as if it were happening in two separate times, from one corner is heard on the ancient gramophone, turned down as quiet as possible, the song Yesterday accompanied by a single guitar. "Good God, if only you'd play some decent Gipsy music once in a while," curse the World War veterans in the moment of meditation that follows each trick.Yesterday. She is sitting on the bed with its homespun bed-spread, her long legs in the pedal-pushers tucked under her to one side, bent over the scratchy murmur of the gramophone. Yesterday. It was today, or tomorrow, returning home from Mediterranean regions, the widow of the writer that had been put on the Index had already moved out of the former workshop, which, however, had never again heard the dry sound of cobbler's hammer striking wooden peg, yet when evening comes and you are left in the gloom the silver-haired old woman, in a pose with slight dislocation of the hips, appears before the long-removed book-shelf, seeking the scent of vanished pine-woods among her books that remind her of sheep shorn at the end of spring, in a greenish gloom and vibration deep in time, in the echo of the fading tinkle of small-change. Yesterday. Was it today, or tomorrow? "And what could you do to me?" you ask, leaning towards her. She seems older, much older than you, in the narrow slit of her eye she directs her green gaze to somewhere on the edge of your field of vision, then strokes your hair maternally."Don't be silly," she says calmly. "I don't want to do anything to you." "But I want you to! I want to know!" You are petulant, as if you were the refractory child of this girl, your equal in age, scarcely a teenager, then you even give a little tug at the ample neckline of the blouse. "I want you to!" "I'm afraid," she whispers, "Afraid of that... of myself" "That's your problem!" you shout at her. In that you now behave in masculine fashion, whereas she becomes gentle and yielding, as one afraid of her own knowledge."I want you to!" you hiss and squeak in your breaking teen-age voice, with teen-age anger. With downcast eyes she extends her long legs in the pedal-pushers, smoothes her hair automatically, then rejects with a push of the button the number that is just beginning again: Yester... diuuu – squeals the tinny gramophone as it dies away. She stands up, and now you, sitting as you are, come up to her thighs, she stretches nonchalantly, then as a parting gesture she once again strokes your untidy, straw-yellow hair, and says, as if thinking aloud:"One morning, perhaps tomorrow, if there's just the two of us in the yard." As she goes she says in an undertone: "I'm frightened," and as she goes out of the erstwhile workshop the gloom glitters green. Perhaps this is that tomorrow, or somewhat later. The cold of ravaged flower-beds whistles beneath iron autumnal skies between the wild morello, the withered plum and the trellis supporting the branches in the vine-arbor, not a gleam of sun, the morning is uniformly overcast, its light, as it were, reflected into the window from the leaning partition wall. There is no one in the yard, nor does your long-dead younger brother sidle up to you to compel your attention with a crafty kick on the shins.Outwardly day-dreaming, she sits behind the peasant Biedermeier table, but in half an hour a beer-bottle, staggering comically, bursts in through the gate, avoids the stones all down the yard, wobbles over the doorstep and leaps onto the table before the eyes, as they pour forth green light."I can't help it!" she whispers in horror. "I have to assure myself time after time." "There's no one in the street," you calm her, as if the two of you were doing it all as accomplices."I still have to look for such a long time, I'm going to be found out. Old Juli at the corner shop is beginning to suspect something." "Nonsense. It's not stealing." "It is. If anything, it's worse. And I just can't help it, like a kleptomaniac!" You smooth her hair, it feels soft, her green gaze seeks asylum on the fringe of your field of vision. Then you grasp her shoulder with long, strong fingers. "Now! I want to, now." Slowly and sincerely, she raises to you her narrow, transparently green eyes."Do you want to very much? Have you really thought it through, darling?"You look her in the eye, squeeze ever more firmly her thin, bony, slightly rounded shoulder. You are compelling her in your own way. Gently she detaches the grip of your fingers, pulls you to her, pushes you a little away from her, and calmly, relaxedly, looks into your eyes. Never before can you have watched those green eyes for so long, you seem to sense for the first time the nakedness behind them; you want to lower your gaze, like a small boy, but at the same time they draw you."Come on, think of something," you whisper in the green vibration, around you the autumnal trees sway, display their colors, the branches of the resinous Spanish morello gleam, buds swell on them, suddenly they all burst into white, the world is a single mighty, white, silent explosion, the crown stretches out above the yard, beyond the yard where there is nothing, only a blinding flowering, the crown grows to limitless size and begins slowly to rotate, and around it every color melts into the almost harsh whiteness, then is separated from it as the mighty crown turns, whirls, faster and faster, extending over boundless, unknown regions, then first it simply plays tag, then the blossom snows down from the tree heavier and heavier, the petals cover the bare earth, knee-deep, thickly, everything is white from this snowfall, a warm, white blanket on the earth, so that one has to move off in it, to somewhere, holding hands, to steal with silent, slithering steps in the blinding light where everything is warm-white, only the slender hand snuggling into your palm is ice-cold, as if it were clutching you to remind you of something and attract your attention: nor may you remain alone for one minute in this world, which conceals mighty, deceitful remotenesses. You want to break out of the icy clutch into the warmth that is spread beneath your feet, while above your head the mild breeze swings gleaming morellos, mighty now with red bursting, a faithful message from Mediterranean lands runs across the luminous sky disintegrating into hues of morello red, many colors shine from it, by which time you can no longer feel that icy grasp on your fingers and the spreading shades flare once more and smolder into grayness.You stand outside the door, still open a crack, around you the coolness of ravaged flower-beds, the ill-swept, bare-gray earth of the yard, behind the drooping, leafless branches of the Spanish morello a beckoning hand moves in the window, dark like a mirror that has lost its silvering, a slender, white hand, waving hesitantly, calling. Stupidly, like one that has escaped danger, recovering your senses, you blink in the direction of the deserted erstwhile workshop, stagger back between the withered morello and the gnarled plum, beneath the window tiredly lean your shoulder on the trunk of the slimy Spanish morello, look for the pale face looming white behind the gray shining glass, searching. You quiver when she comes out to you, takes your hand (her slender hand is warm and slightly moist, there are shadows under her eyes as if she were very tired), she draws you after her behind the gray window-pane, seats you at the table, smoothes your markedly wrinkled forehead, and bends so close that she all but speaks into your mouth, her breath has the scent of the mouth of a baby:"It wasn't my idea. You know I didn't want to, darling." "How pure you were then," you said later, sometime, your words a midnight-street-corner mumble beneath the vibration of burning arc-lamps. "You dreamt me a world of innocence." She did not reply, only looked at you very long, tiredly, as if the word that had calmed her before had become valid for that day too: "Have a beer," she says, "That will relax you. I was tired too," she sighs. "I said one mustn't, mustn't play with that. I almost sent you away, darling!" This morning the second bottle of beer floats in an invisible green force-field from the shelf in the corner shop, along the street, in through the door and spins round on the glass top of the peasant- Biedermeier table, with its memories of the slap of cards and the ring of small-change."You two've been drinking!" your mother's mouth opens wide in horror. "This is the last straw! You little cow, I'll pull your hair out till there's none left!" The green glance takes refuge guiltily on the lower edge of your gaze as it meets your mother's."I got it!" you say defiantly, looking your mother straight in the eye."What with, you devil?!" But nothing further happens, it becomes merely a tired, after-work wave of the hand. Later, in the deep-seated gloom, when the silver-haired widow of the dead writer, returned from Mediterranean regions, whispers as she bends over her library that calls to mind the hides of white, sheared sheep, in that eternal hip-dislocating posture, as you have defended her she hesitantly strokes your arm. You know she is defenseless against the real world. By this she thanks you for your first chivalrous act. In that autumn twilight, when in the gloom there had spread around the title-pages and bands of the books and the old lady's scraped-back hair only a silvery lightness and a green vibration, when there remained only the two of you in the room that had survived the ages, converted from a shoemaker's workshop and still smelling of glue, where at the most unexpected moments the evanescent sound of the small-change of Sunday card-players rang out, in that twilight the old, ailing roof tree, which had never been renewed, collapsed with a single dreadful crash, and you could suddenly see the evening star through a room-wide crack in the ceiling, to the clatter of bits of falling roof tiles. Everyone rushed in terror from the nearest house to your assistance, but the two of you were sitting in total darkness, calmly, your fingers intertwined on the glass table-top, very very peacefully and without a word.Thereafter, if you caught sight of a bottle craftily wobbling from the bottom shelf in a deserted, gloomy little shop, you knew that she was somewhere in the vicinity, and perhaps she knew that once more you had caught her in the act, you, the only one that knew her secret. You stared at the bottles as they moved stealthily away, bottles with labels more and more ornamental as time went by, and you called to mind the ancient workshop with the writer-widow bent over her books in the half light of dawn, who is now ninety and walks unsuspecting in the town without so much as a thought of the one movement she made, frozen into time.She is kneeling right next to the wall in the smallchange-rattling silence of the former workshop. She is practicing. You go in. You greet her and take your place in silence at the peasant-Biedermeier table, you look at the wall at the same place as she does. She stands up, dusts her knees mechanically, then sighs: "No, it isn't working." "It's not working, little one," you nod, and you are sad, just as she."He's too far away. It's been too long since I saw him. Two months ago I would have visualized him if only faintly, so to speak, but now there's nothing. Nothing." You hate that man, and yet you share in the girl's regret. You know that true affection exists in this duality, it's no longer love. Her eyes are tired and sad, but there she sits at the table, staring into the twilight, and a few seconds later the bottle turns in through the slightly open door."That still works! That'll do instead." She is beautiful in that sorrow, her figure, already that of a woman, indicates in advance her early decline, which from time to time, after long practice sessions, can be seen in her face, around her eyes, and whereas her thin, severe, lower lip pulls down her green gaze with its former tautness, the upper, arched lip is now a little flabby. "Little one," she whispers warmly, and strokes your face with her narrow palm, her fingers coming tiredly to rest on your shoulder. "You love him so much?" you ask hopelessly. "I love him so much," she nods resignedly, opens the bottle, meanwhile murmurs on quietly: "I love him so much that if I don't see him, not for a long time, even the memory of him burns up in that love. I have to see him, because if I don't, after a time it's nothing, it's no good my trying, there's just a solid wall in front of me. One day, after we've met, when I've charged myself up on him again for a while, I'll murder him," she says quietly, without emotion, then hesitantly raises her green gaze to you, for she knows exactly what you're not saying: "With you it's different, little one. I can love you when you haven't been with me for a long time. That was settled between us a long time ago, when I let you in on it. That's for eternity, never mind a mere human lifetime. With him, again, it's different. I can't get away from the thought that one day, after a meeting, I'll order him to do something stupid. One day, when I can't do without him for a single moment. And he, poor thing, won't know a thing about it he'll just do what I command. He comes to see me less and less often..." She takes a cautious drink, then slips something small, round and white from her palm into her mouth, in a very practiced manner. "Lea!" you pronounce her name in dread, something that you only speak rarely, at the most critical moments, and then your voice swells to Old Testament pitch and fades away, as if this name were springing up before you for the first time: LEA- it separates into discrete sounds: L E A - then with a little rise and fall L A - and vice versa L A, so that then it may materialize in a sort of self contained closed form in the gloom of the erstwhile workshop: L A, and this constantly swelling name, rich in overtones, begins a slow but dizzying whirling within you, surging, revealing the depths of its dreamy whirlpools, drowning you spin in them, and it will never cast you up on some shore that promises to be safe, independent of it and unattainable to it, as it rolls into itself in its helpless whirling: EAELE LAEEALEELA ELEAE a pair of eyes gleams in the midst of the whirlpool, which slowly becomes turbid, writhes in alarm this way and that, becomes darker, as if that lazy swirl of sound were stirring up its secret, unfathomable depths, so that you may glimpse deep within the pupils the disturbed sediment, then sudden winter envelops your eyes, the piercing gaze freezes to glass in a second, silent external lights glides over it, it stammers something with swollen tongue, or perhaps some ponderous word will not fit in its mouth, chokes it, throttles it, and then its head emerges onto the surface of the table that remembers the rattle of the small-change, long since withdrawn from circulation, of games of bezique and its broken gaze so suddenly melts – its tears flow, gather into a pool on the darkening sheet of glass, while, in a posture involving slight dislocation of the hips, the slender, immobile figure of the widow, returned from distant parts, of the writer long since placed on the Index appears in the greenish mirage of the background gloom, and as in your childhood, now too seeks the scent of distant pine-woods among the books, recalling the feel of sheep sheared to summer shortness, of her removed shelf, when the first bottle of raspberry juice floated quietly down from the lower shelf of the corner shop, ran, wobbling cautiously, along the empty street, turned in at the gate, eternally open a crack, quietly crossed the cobbles of the yard, tottered over the yellow, worn wooden doorstep and sprang onto the glazed surface of the peasant-Biedermeier table, as the first sign of dizzinesses to come and secret callings."Lea," you say once more, but the name no longer causes a ripple in the silence, it is simple, natural, it seems that all that rings from it is: that is a possible name for a woman. "You see," she says, "What I've sunk to." "YOU see," you say, "What you've sunk to." YOUSEE YOUSEE say the pair of you, IHAVESUNKTOTHIS YOUHAVESUNKTOTHIS "And that was only the beginning," she says then. The ailing roof tree of memory collapses with a dreadful sound of breaking, the crash of falling roof tiles drowns her voice.When you saw bottles floating down from lower shelves in empty, little small shops, you turned away in embarrassment and sorrow, because you knew that she was nearby. Almost a year ago you read in the obituary column of the local paper that the hydraulic engineer A.K., working abroad, had died in tragic circumstances in the town of Z. Poor fellow: he had no idea at all. Right to the end he thought that he did what he did of his own free will, without anyone making him. You forgave Lea, or so you hope, of your own free will. Poor girl, she couldn't be stronger than herself.Another year, in a little corner shop among tawdry suburban houses, when, from the lower shelf there floated down a bottle of raspberry juice that had not altered in shape, you followed it without hesitation, strolled along the deserted pavement behind it, turned into the yard of a little house with a garden, and went through a half open door into a room. "You see, I've still got the power to do that," she said by way of greeting."I hear you can do more, too," you said sadly. "And why haven't you told the police, darling?" she asked enquiringly."I wouldn't have liked them to think I was out of my mind." "And being an accomplice is better?" she asked, disappointed. "Less trouble," you said succinctly."You have grown up," she stated sourly, her lower lip held in a stern line, whereas the upper rose, trembling gently. "I'm going away," she went on, and as if she had held it in readiness for a long time she slid a photograph in front of you from somewhere. It was an excellent snapshot, a teen-age girl sitting on a bed covered with a homespun bedspread, her long legs in now unfashionable pedal pushers tucked underneath her to one side, and – obviously! – listening to music, "Yesterday," you said quietly, "Yesterday," she said quietly, "I'm going away." Later it was said of her that she was living somewhere abroad and working with astounding success in a police investigation department. You never heard from her again. Bottles stand in undisturbed order on the shelves of small shops.Then you took that snapshot from an envelope. You looked at it, turned it over – nothing: everything of her had vanished, only a sort of green vibration remained on the light-sensitive side. Nothing else, just that.You are gradually approaching the age that Christ was, and less and less miracles happen around you. Once, even longer ago, being in a somewhat inebriated state, you were about to tell her story, to reveal her first and – you are sure of this! – last murder to someone that you almost loved as you had her. The evergreen twanging of a solo guitar in your ears, you remembered a great big white flowering, the naive, pure dream of teen-age girls, Yesterday. Then all you put on the gramophone was A Night on the Bare Mountain.You said nothing, you dared not speak of her any more. You will say nothing. Nothing.
English version by Bernard ADAMS

by Attila Mozes