All those telephone calls, those files, those people in distress who weighed on his heart. Those confined spaces, those lifts, those staircases, those traffic jams. That pile of bills waiting for him every month in his letter-box. He could manage it, he felt sure. In his mind, radiant sunshine blotted out his dark thoughts.
This feeling of power. At last he understood. He shook himself, struggling free for the first time. He was taking his destiny into his own hands. The world had something beautiful about it. Something extra. Something he had not been able to see before.
This discovery took his breath away. He could hardly breathe. Such happiness, why should a man have to wait so long to feel it? Tears pricked his eyes. He winced as if in pain. Was it really true? Was the world really so beautiful?
His anxiety returned, but not his breath. That feeling of oppression he thought far behind now catching up with him. Why him? He could not see clearly any more. His tears obscured his vision, drops of blood were forming on his cheeks. The pain, that awful pain. They were pressing down on him all over his body. His ears were popping, his nose was twisting. His arms seemed to be dragging behind. He had had enough. Leave him alone. Leave him in peace. Peace, for Christ’s sake!
His body hit the pavement. The flight had lasted forty-six floors.
Translated by Wendy Cross