Читать онлайн "My Struggle: Book One" автора Knausgaard Karl Ove - RuLit - Страница 109


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“I’ve changed my mind,” I explained. “It would be better downstairs, as you said.”

“Yes, good,” she said.

I followed her down. In the hall she turned to me.

“Do you have everything you need?”

“Everything,” I answered.

Then she opened the door to her little room and was gone.

The room I was going to sleep in was one of those we had not tackled yet, but the fact that her things, such as hairbrushes, rollers, jewelery and jewelery box, clothes hangers, nightgowns, blouses, underwear, toilet bags, cosmetics lay scattered around on bedside tables, the mattress, shelves in the open wardrobe, on the floor, on the windowsills did not bother me in the slightest, I just cleared the mattress with a couple of sweeps of my hand, spread out the sheet and duvet, undressed, switched off the light and got into bed. I must have fallen asleep at once for the next thing I remember is that I woke up and switched on the bedside lamp to look at my watch, it was two o’clock. On the staircase outside the door I heard footsteps. Still drowsy with sleep, the first thing that occurred to me, and presumably connected with something I had dreamed, was that Dad had returned. Not as a ghost, but in the flesh. Nothing in me refuted this notion, and I was frightened. Then, not right away, but somehow following up on this notion, I realized the idea was ridiculous and went into the hall. The door to Grandma’s room was ajar. I looked in. Her bed was empty. I ascended the staircase. She was probably getting herself a glass of water, or perhaps she hadn’t been able to sleep, and had gone up to watch TV, but I would check there anyway, to be on the safe side. First, the kitchen. She wasn’t there. Then, the living room. Nor there. So she must have gone to the special occasion living room.

Yes, she was by the window.

For some reason I didn’t make my presence known. I paused in the shadow of the dark sliding door, watching her.

It was as though she were in a trance. She was standing motionless, staring into the garden. Occasionally, her lips moved, as though whispering to herself. But not a sound emerged.

Without warning, she whirled around and came toward me. I didn’t have the wit to react, just watched her coming toward me. She passed by half a meter away, but although her eyes flitted across my face she didn’t see me. She walked straight past, as if I were just a piece of furniture.

I waited until I heard the door downstairs shut before following.

Once back in my bedroom, I was afraid. Death was everywhere. Death was in the jacket in the hall, where the envelope containing my father’s possessions was, death was in the chair in the living room, where she had found him, death was on the stairs, where they had carried him, death was in the bathroom, where Grandad had collapsed, his stomach covered with blood. If I closed my eyes it was impossible to escape the thought that the dead might come, just like in my childhood. But I had to close my eyes. And if I succeeded in ridiculing these childish notions, there was no getting past the sudden image of Dad’s dead body. The interlaced fingers with the white nails, the yellowing skin, the hollow cheeks. These images accompanied me deep into my light sleep, in such a way that I couldn’t say whether they belonged to the world of reality or dreams. Once my consciousness had opened in this way, I was sure his body was in the wardrobe, and I checked, rummaged through all the dresses hanging there, checked the next, and the next, and having done that, I went back to bed and continued sleeping. In my dreams he was sometimes dead, sometimes alive, sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past. It was as if he had completely taken me over, as if he controlled everything inside me, and when at last I awoke, at around eight o’clock, my initial thought was it had been a nocturnal visitation, and then, that I had to see him again.

Two hours later I closed the door to the kitchen, where Grandma was sitting, went to the phone, and dialed the funeral director’s number.

“Andenæs Funeral Parlor.”

“Ah, hello, this is Karl Ove Knausgaard. I was at your office the day before yesterday, with my brother. About my father. He died four days ago …”

“Ah yes, hello …”

“As you know, we went to see him yesterday … But now I was wondering if it would be possible to see him again? A final visit, if you understand …”

“Yes, of course. When would be convenient?”

“We-ell,” I said. “Some time this afternoon? Three? Four?”

“Shall we say three then?”

“Three’s good.”

“Outside the chapel.”


“Okay, so it’s set then. Excellent.”

“Thank you very much.”

“Not at all.”

Relieved that the conversation had been so unproblematic, I went into the garden and continued cutting the grass. The sky was overcast, the light gentle, the air warm. I finished at around two o’clock. Then I went back in to see Grandma and said I was going to meet a friend, changed clothes, and headed for the chapel. The same car was by the front door, the same man opened up when I knocked. He acknowledged me with a nod, opened the door to the room where we had been the day before, did not enter himself, and I stood in front of Dad again. This time I was prepared for what awaited me, and his body — the skin must have darkened even further in the course of the previous twenty-four hours — aroused none of the feelings that had distressed me before. Now I saw his lifeless state. And that there was no longer any difference between what once had been my father and the table he was lying on, or the floor on which the table stood, or the wall socket beneath the window, or the cable running to the lamp beside him. For humans are merely one form among many, which the world produces over and over again, not only in everything that lives but also in everything that does not live, drawn in sand, stone, and water. And death, which I have always regarded as the greatest dimension of life, dark, compelling, was no more than a pipe that springs a leak, a branch that cracks in the wind, a jacket that slips off a clothes hanger and falls to the floor.



2011 - 2018