KUKORELLY Endre - Away

The photograph is blank. Two dead people, not yet dead, but dead nonetheless, because theyíll be dead soon. A boy and a girl. The boy reaches across to grab his arm, we canít tell why, it looks as if heís rolling up the sleeve of his T-shirt. The girl preens in front of a mirror on a cigarette machine. A picture very near death, apathetic, morose, empty. Behind all such moroseness, boredom and depression is death, itís probably that simple. They look like theyíre going to die. Death takes the appetite for life away, extracts it and sucks it up, like a doctorís syringe draws blood.
     The two kids on the picture are about to follow the others, to follow the hurrying, busy woman toward the exit, to be the last ones boarding the ferry from Copenhagen to Malmö, or what do I know, maybe theyíre not the last ones. The boy isnít too enthusiastic about the whole thing, but then he lets himself be...not talked into it, because the girl doesnít talk him into it, boredom does the convincing, boredom and nothing else. He goes, because he has neither any inclination nor any reason to stay. They buy the tickets just about at the last minute, the girl takes a last look at herself in the mirror, and then they follow the other passengers. They run down a cramped, metal spiral-staircase to the lowest level, where the boat rocks least, because the waves make the girl sick, even the slightest rocking soon makes her nauseous. Or even sooner, right away. She doesnít get sick, she just starts throwing up, but itís not a bad feeling for her, itís good, a good pain. Itís more or less the reason theyíre taking the ferry across to Malmö, where they have nothing particular to do. The girl feels the effect almost as soon as they step on deck, they have to hurry down so she can keep it in as long as possible. The boat is a little late embarking, supposedly something happened in the cargo area, water leak or something like that, supposedly itís no big deal.

       No big deal, the passengers tell each other.
     Itís hard to understand that kind of thing, I mean, how some people know. Where do they get their information? Theyíre always there, in every situation, there are those who know right away, they know everything in advance, and they talk like it, too. We usually gather around these people and listen to them, it starts in childhood, we gather around them, and gape at them, because they really seem to know some unknowable things, and it goes on until their number is up too, and as we wonder how such a thing can happen to them, we gather around them for the last time. Theyíll check the problem over on the other side, says one of them, the port maintenance shop will fix it, thatís how they do it, it would be too hot now, and besides there are too many people wanting to take the ferry from K to M, or back, for whatever reason. He, for one, doesnít understand at all. They come over here in the morning, and now, in the early afternoon, at nearly the hottest time of day, they go back over. Before long, everyone knows these things, even though there hasnít been an announcement about the reason for the delay. Instead, thereís irritatingly soothing, slightly scratchy music, turned off in the middle of a song when the dock finally edges away from the boat.
     Itís going to be good, thereís a nice strong wind to toss the boat around. The boy and the girl now step into a womenís bathroom on the lower deck, the girl yanks her panties off, tips the cover down with the toe of her shoe, sits down, unbuttons the boyís pants, and when she feels she canít keep it in anymore, she turns around and leans on the basin. They fuck. The girl fills the toilet with vomit at the same time. Then the boy goes out into the lobby, staggering because of the increasingly heavy rocking. He washes his face, ducking his head under the faucet.
     When the boat leans the opposite way, the door that was left open slaps the wall of the WC noisily.
     As the boy rises, he stumbles, falls into the mirror, somehow pushes himself away, now he feels how strange things are, all topsy-turvy, and itís not just the rocking, because the topsy-turviness doesnít go away, it doesnít swing back in the other direction, as it should, but stays the same. Then the door bursts open and sea water gushes into the lobby, it roars through and slams the boy back into the wall, as if there really were something, even though itís not so certain that there is, as if there were a force that separates the everythings, once and for all, every thing separate from every other thing, an empty force, things separate and me separate.
     From that something here, from loitering about, from the wind, and sunshine crashing down from up high, from the smell of the water, from the too good breakfasts, from others, from anyone else, from my own superfluous and unmanageable tasks, from trying, devoutness and boredom, from very smart girls like these Ė fragrant and staring at shop windows, from my motherís questions, from asking and answering, from my most foolish, my hopelessly foolish answers. From awakening in the afternoon, awakening from dreams too full, truly away.

Translated by REICH Péter

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