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9th of October/13

There are those mornings when, despite living in your own house, your own kids seem to be a couple of strangers lost in the middle of a Transylvanian nowhere as if woozily beholding the mosaic in a rank railway station after a drinking binge along with some herdsmen who, the night before, around the fire, looked like gods only to turn out as demons the next morning.

You can’t even start a conversation with them. No matter what you do, you’re looked at as if you were a train conductor popping in the compartment out of the blue and asking them to present the tickets without delay. You hand them the sandwiches without saying a word, they take them, turn around showing you the back of their schoolbags stitched with some interesting figures, no doubt, but which you can’t make out in the morning obscurity, and get out of the door mumbling a faint goodbye, before you even get to say anything remotely wise. Behind them, the house seems all of a sudden sucked into a void oozing more desolation than that apartment building for single people in Zimnicea everybody deserted shaking in their shoes the very next day after the ’86 earthquake.

If autumn has come, your nose is running, you’re coughing, hurt everywhere, just had a bad night’s sleep and feel more afraid to look at yourself in the mirror than the evil queen in Snow White did, there are two remedies:

  1. You make yourself a huge pot of tea following the Indian recipe: ginger, lemon, honey. Then, you turn off all phones and tuck yourself back into bed, pretending you have ceased to exist. If the world happens to grab hold of you, there’s no way out, you’re dead. So all you do is drink and shut up.
  2. Pick a book full of dense, lyrical and powerful prose such as one of Herta Müller’s novels. No news, no politics, no history, nothing. So all you do is read and shut up.

“Sitting in the school yard among the other children, the spot on the boy’s cheek was the touch of solitude. It was outspreading because from above the poplars light was falling askew. […] When they beat the carpets, the summer breaks into green husks. In the hustle of poplars there are the green husks of all the summers left behind. All those years when you are child and still grow up and yet feel that each day falls over an edge in the evening.”

(Încă de pe atunci vulpea era vânătorul (Even Back Then,The Fox Was the Hunter), p. 10, Humanitas, 2010)