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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 88 | volume XVI | January-February, 2013



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 88January-February, 2013
Prose

Götz and Meyer

(an excerpt from the novel)


/8
p. 1
David Albahari

Sometimes you win when you admit defeat, but not with me. I would rather tilt at windmills, even the old and decrepit kind, the way they are now, Götz and Meyer, if they are alive. I never met them, I can only imagine them. I’m back where I began. This is what my life has turned into: stumbling, looking back, starting anew. One of those three lives I was living in parallel, maybe even a fourth. The rest continued to follow me, unchanged, and I’d wake up like Götz, or Meyer, eager to work, and go to sleep like a 13-year-old boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and repeating words in a language that made his throat ache. None of my relatives in the camp could be described as a 13-year-old boy, nor do I know where he came from, nor which life he belongs to. Götz and Meyer are also unable to help me. If we had remembered all those faces, they say, we’d remember nothing else. The boy kept popping up, and on one occasion, instead of my own hands, I saw his, clear as day. He was clutching a mug of milk and he was thirsty. He was in me that day, when, in a voice squeaky with excitement, I proposed to my students that we spend our next class in a hands-on demonstration. Although beside themselves at the thought that they wouldn’t have to be in school, they wanted to know what was going to happen. The boy had, in the meanwhile, faded, leaving me to respond. It was going to be about the difference between the tangible world and art, I explained, but also about the similarity between an instant of reality and a figment of the imagination. I was pretty busy for a few days. I had to find a school bus, collect money from the students, work out the route, get my thoughts together. This last item was the hardest for me, I admit. Then on the family tree, in a forgotten corner, I found a distant relative, a Matilda, who had died in 1929. I never learned anything about her, as if she was cloaked in a family secret. I couldn’t find her grave in the Jewish cemetery, even in the overgrown Ashkenazy section. Because of her I went to see the Jewish cemetery in Zemun, although none of my relatives ever


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