Dismal Early Morning

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Mary Benoist

372 readings

157

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I have never liked the dawn and even less having to get up early; on the rare occasions when I have had to force myself to perform that ominous obligation I have felt real dread which resembled – all things being equal – that of the condemned man whom they come for in the early hours of the morning to take to the scaffold and, like him, I feel nausea welling up within me, I can hardly stand and I curse the reason which has brought me to this painful obligation to leave my bed, that haven of peace and cosy warmth, even if this reason is as nothing compared to that of the prisoner dragged to his death, at that moment I feel the injustice of a destiny that forces me to step into an icy bathroom when my shivering hands refuse to help me shave or dress, I am overcome by an overwhelming sadness, a sadness which pursues me when I finally manage to leave my home and face the street and the ugly faces of my fellow creatures, some still puffy with sleep, others pale as if a vampire had emptied them of their blood, passers-by weary from a night that should have brought them rest but who have been snatched too soon from their dreams or too late from their nightmares, a vision of horror which will stay with me all day, irremediably ruining in advance all the joy and happiness I could have felt if I had got up around midday, when the sun is at its highest, and the brasserie I frequent is buzzing with life and the waiter brings me my orange juice and a strong espresso while poor wretches, already half exhausted from their morning’s work, are eating the dish of the day, and my thoughts are lost in contemplating them, pleased to have escaped their hell and my mind fully made up to never experience such torture as rising at six o’clock, or even seven o’clock, in the morning and resolved only to catch sight of the dawn in the glimmer I can make out in summer when the day starts early and I am returning home after a night’s work during which I have been able to devote myself to my passion which consists in filling page after page and writing whatever comes into my head in total silence surrounded by the benevolent, motionless and silent presences at the morgue where I am the night watchman.

Translated by Wendy Cross

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157

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