Who was I: Anna? Or maybe Maria? Does it matter after this sweeping away of tracks? To Them, I am just “Left against Medical Advice” and even if I wanted to go back, I couldn’t, because in this light all roads look the same.
I am walking, without stopping. The only thing I see are the railroad ties, reeking of tar and rust. This is my road now and I don’t doubt that it will lead me to the right place. Now all roads lead to the right place. Fog and bushes hide the distance from view, but thereabouts, beyond the horizon is where the point of intersection of all roads is, even of parallel ones, and one non-existent point is a splendid goal, They know this and are afraid. They also know that I know it, too, but I am not afraid. And they are even more afraid. And they hate me. They hate me very skillfully, routinely. They are capable of all kinds of nasty tricks to keep an eye on me. But now I’m keeping an eye on them – sometimes my left eye, sometimes my right one. They don’t even know what this means! I am the Sun and the Moon at the same time and nothing can be hidden from my sight.
The rails lead me to a place, trampled like a threshing-floor. There is a wooden footbridge, hidden in the reeds. It looks strange in this mute out-of-the-way place where only the voices of the autumn ducks can be heard, and the reeds warn of deep mud. I leave the rails and take the footbridge. I find myself at the start of a narrow, muddy riverbank which divides the water in two just as a crack divides a mirror in two. I know neither how long it is, nor where it leads. It will get dark soon and I have no choice. Nor do I need one!
fire above, fire below
the tracks meander
yellow light is the greatest happiness.
in the light of sunset some break the pot and sing
others lament loudly over the coming of the night
its coming is unexpected
it bursts into flames and dies away
bloody tears, self-pity
I’ll capture the leaders, the followers – I’ll kill!
as the king uses his light
so will I advance and punish.
I’m in no hurry. Since They chased me away, days seem long, and nights – even longer. I had intended not to give in, to demand an explanation from them, but gradually my life has changed – reduced to, limited to a walk on the riverbank at nightfall. Now I’m standing up, on the highway, watching how the fog is creeping in low, thinking that I am almost finished, and some kind of trampled justice is the last thing that could worry me in this case.
I start to go down slowly. Down the muddy ravine – and I am on the riverbank. My whole relationship with reality, composed of the words I mentally had with Them till now, is breaking up. Everything, all rhetoric is lost in the fog’s understatements, turning into wet slivers and wind, smelling of lye. I know that if I now see footprints and cigarette butts in the mud, they will be my footprints and cigarette butts, if I hear breathing – it will be my breathing. But, in the end, I won’t see and hear anything – only water and water, and water again, stopped forever on the quiet, grassy riverbank.
At this moment, as if intending to shatter my last scrap of confidence, the silhouette of a woman swims out of the grayness. She has been walking towards me all this time, and I hadn’t seen her! Her hair, scattered in the wind, has the color of autumn grass, there’s no color at all on her face. Her eyes are the Sun and the Moon at the same time – she’s looking at me as if I’m a ghost, but it’s obvious that she is the ghost. The burdock caught on her dressing-gown and those sneakers over her bare feet, the initials MHC* on the pocket look very real, but they can’t mislead me… She’s nothing. Everything in her is screaming: “Come back! Don’t go any further! There is only water there!” I hear it clearly; I’m almost ready to go back or at least to stand aside… But I don’t go back. I don’t stand aside. I’m standing in her way, while she’s coming towards me like an unavoidable danger. We will run into each other at any moment. Just now… I even close my eyes… No. There is no crash. There’s only a soft puff of wind and – there is she, behind me. She doesn’t even turn round. She passed through me, as through a door, so as to disappear again.
I’m alone once more. As if nothing has changed in this waste land. I could go back like I do every evening and to come here again tomorrow. Or I could go further. I have to see what is at the other end of the riverbank at some point.
I’m licking my lips. The wind on them tastes like blood. So what?
water above, water below
in the middle of the abyss you fall into an abyss.
the abyss has no exit
an abyss in front of you, an abyss behind you
there’s someone there, giving a hand to you, grab it!
The abyss is not full, there’s hope
Ouch! – tied with ropes,
thrown in a pit with prongs on its walls
* Translator’s note. MHC, Mental Health Center.