THE GALLERY OF THE LONESOME, SULLEN & SELF-ABSORBED
No human feature is unknown to them, they are all understanding and sympathy.
They don’t miss the gift of speech, yet when addressed in hope of an answer, they hush. The mere fact of being looked upon by somebody, of a mouth uttering sounds to them makes them lose their nerve. Anybody who confronts them frightens them.
They don’t like to reveal themselves and everything makes them shy, words as well. To evade an answer, they go on saying something different from what is on their minds, avoiding direct words.
They dislike uttering any kind of praise, but in order to demonstrate their good intentions, they may force themselves to express commendation. Even in those cases they still hesitate before doing so.
They look lonesome, whatever the place. They keep a wall of caution around them; others may care for their clothes when sitting down – they mind their isolating cape.
When they make appointments they show up at the wrong time, too late, as if they had forgotten. In that way they keep stalling the enemy, who has all the time to build the wrong image.
Everybody bears a grudge against them, the world is full of murderers.
When they look at pregnant women they despair; one shouldn’t have any children because, they say, if they don’t die at birth they die later.
They are considered as distinct beings, because they avoid any physical contact.
As soon as they start crying and tears start running, they feel good. They stand still, motionless, without wiping their tears with a handkerchief. Each tear should transmit all its warmth, whether it reaches mouth or chin, whether it runs through the neck to the chest – they welcome every tear with discretion and gratitude and they stand up again only after this abundant bath.
They have threatened to hang themselves. But they don’t do it, they can’t bear the idea of smelling the saviour who would cut the rope.
They collect bad intentions. They have room for them and keep them well.
They have the capacity to lose everything. They start with a small try - they have a lot to lose. They need to know that they have losses, they must know it constantly.
It is against their nature to say no, they guess wishes before their owners do.
They bravely accept their destiny, no one has ever heard them complain.
They take pains to put every syllable in the right place and care that no one be left unpronounced. They don’t put in their mouths words whose weight fluctuates too much. They speak so correctly that others follow and obey them in awe.
They live alone and can’t stand a pet, cat or dog. Animals would not be able to understand what they really are; a child would be unthinkable as well, for they would have to bow to her.
They cannot live without trust.
They cry when it rains. Today was the last time, so they whisper. This will be a day to remember. Although it will rain again, they know that the rain will get scarcer and scarcer.
They live in anguish because one day they will have to evaporate. Therefore they collect water. Every bottle in the cellar is filled with water, sealed and put aside by years.
When they get mail they leave it unopened for a few days on the table. They put one of those letters in front of them, on the table and keep imagining its content.
They pick people as interlocutors who don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
They can’t go out in the streets without being followed. After a few steps out, somebody has spotted them and runs after them, others even cross the street on their account, without knowing why.
They never visit a place without reading beforehand everything that has been written about it. The place fits their knowledge; Unreadable places don’t seem to exist, they always confirm what has been read.
Their source of contempt is boundless.
They don’t curry anyone’s favour, they don’t fondle, they have no sounds of their own; they wish to be understood in the same way as they are willing to understand.
Sometimes they get married, sometimes they divorce. Women disappear. It is always a mistake.
They would feel better in the world without a body. They use it as if it didn’t exist. It just comes into existence when it needs to be covered, but even then they know how to avoid touching it.
They constantly analyse their skins with magnifying glasses and pincers. What has once been discovered it is never forgotten; when they come back to the same area they examine it again closely.
They carry some amount of guilt. They take care of themselves, concentrate their energies, live for the day when justice will be served to them. Crimes come and go, but when their guilt is at last acknowledged, they want to present themselves with their heads up to receive worthily their deserved punishment.
Happiness leaves a repulsive taste in their mouths. Before they vomit it, they suffocate.
They have always lived where they were needed and want to go on being useful. There are times when they don’t know whom they belong to, and they keep waiting for the opening of wills.
To be continued …