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150

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This morning you do not wake up because you have not been to sleep; the sun has come up without warning. The very idea of sleeping has not even crossed your mind; you chose to push yourself to the limit just to show how ridiculously useless it was. One sleepless night has shown you that the years of your youth are behind you, your bones ache, your eyes smart and you feel sick. Your cigarette packet is empty; just as well, you really should give up. The world as you can see it through your sleepy daze looks like a bad joke.

On your right, that old woman dragging herself around at the cruising speed of a snail, slumped over an almost new walking frame, muffled in an improbable combination of sweaters; she seems to have forgotten herself to judge by the damp patches glistening on her frail legs.

On your left, the never-ending bustle of a couple of thirty-year-olds who can’t remember if they have locked the doors of their gleaming people carrier, continuously coming and going to fetch God knows what frilly nonsense they left in its interior.

And in front of you, the new reality: this is the day you have become a father; your own father, a grandfather; your sister, an aunt, and so on through all the ramifications of your family tree. You would like to run away, but this so long-awaited offspring does not deserve to be abandoned in that way. And nor does the woman who brought him into the world. Shut up and be the man you never thought you would be.

Translated by Wendy Cross

150

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