by Victor Loghin [Romania]
translated from Romanian by Maria Jastrzębska and Diana Maftei
pentru versiunea română click aici
Alas, poor Yorick ! I knew him Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy … Where
are your gibes now, your gambols, your songs ?
I woke up today, maybe it was morning, or evening or noon (it’s of no importance anyway), feeling my body so light, as if it weren’t there, arms, legs too and everything, except maybe for my head, which felt normal, or at least I perceived it as such in those strange, inexplicable moments.
I lay in the hands of a handsome, if somewhat pensive, young man, who seemed preoccupied by something I could not fathom. He gazed at me with a mix of childlike innocence, an adult’s compassion and something else that I could not discern, regret, nostalgia, something indefinable, like a gentle breeze. And he was talking to me softly, sweetly, bringing to mind by-gone days, his words enveloped by the hissing of the wind, as rough as a cat’s tongue, from somewhere far away or close by, smelling like algae and tasting brackish, like the sea.
And in that moment, as the young man addressed me, I realized who I was.
To be sure, I was Yorick, the old jester, or rather his skull, and the young man speaking softly to me was, yes, you’ve guessed it, Hamlet, in the flesh. We were on the edge of a freshly dug pit, at the bottom of which toiled a gravedigger, who was probably drunk (what else could he have been?). He was singing nasally and spitting a lot. And the damp earth smelled so wonderful!
In a flash I remembered everything, yes, everything, and then I wanted to warn my handsome prince, who’d sat on my lap, with whom I’d gamboled, who had pulled at my painted nose, at the tassels of my jester hat, the jingle bells of my shoes and even at my hair (yet I was never angered, no, it was impossible, he was so small and beautiful, blond, curly, smelling of milk and finery!)
Indeed, I wanted to warn him, to tell him what he should and should not do, but I couldn’t, I could not speak, I could not form words. My jaw had been left somewhere at the bottom of the pit and that drunken gravedigger had not dug it up; I was toothless anyway, so nothing would have come out but an unintelligible hissing, over that of the cold wind blowing from Elsinore.
And then I wanted to speak to him with my eyes, as we once did, when we we’d have fun hiding things and he would guess where I’d put them just by following my gaze. Lord, how clever and beautiful he was! Alas, I could not do that either, my eyes had perished long before, who even knew where they were now, maybe among the petals of the flowers in the graveyard, or maybe somewhere else, and from my empty sockets white sand poured out, scattering in the cold gust from the gulf.
And then I wanted to send him a thought or two, so he would know what might happen, like we once did, back in the days when I taught him how to think his way through a labyrinth, first an easier one, then a harder one, then many others. But I could not do this either. The cold wind fromElsinorewas now rattling through my empty skull, weaving bundles of nothingness.
Oh, Lord, how I resented not being able to come to his aid!
He shed a tear, which fell on my skull, and which warmed me greatly, unimaginably so. Then he laid me on the edge of the pit, on the mound of damp earth and walked away half-heartedly to meet his fate.
After some time, I too returned to my own world, where I went on mocking the meaninglessness of life.