The Ration

“[…] it is first and foremost freedom because the Professor did not do what he had to do, what, in other words, he should have done according to the rational demands of hunger, the instinct for survival, and the madness and the governing rules of the blood pact of hunger, survival instinct, and madness. HE didn’t do what he had to do but did something else in spite of everything, something that he didn’t have to do and what no one in his right mind expected him to do. My wife (she wasn’t my wife yet then) fell silent for a little while and then spoke suddenly; I still remember her face lifted to mine and illuminated by the passing lights of the night, glowing and sparkling softly like glass, like a picture from the thirties,  and I remember her voice too, trembling with emotion and the excitement of taking courage [..] she said suddenly that I must be very lonely and very sad and very inexperienced in spite of all my experiences to have so little trust in man, yes, that I have to fabricate experiences in order to explain a natural (yes, she indeed said natural), honorable human gesture. I remember how startled I was by those words, those absolutely dilettantish and in their untenability so profound remarks. I remember, yes, I do remember her subsequent smile, first rather timid, then turning inquisitive, and then almost immediately intimate, this facial sequence I have often tried to recreate for myself, because in a certain sense it has always delighted me, first pleasurably so, later, when I no longer succeeded in recreating it, painfully – that is to say, my reaction was caused first by its reality, then by its absence, as it’s usually the case and way, it seems, it must be because it never happens otherwise; I remember it all, I remember my thickening and almost unpleasantly immediate and suddenly confused feelings, and, even more so, her question, which was whether or not she may take my arm. Of course, I answered.”

Imre Kertész, Kaddish for a Child Not Born

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s