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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 40 | volume VIII | January-February, 2005



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 40January-February, 2005

Happy Birthday to You

p. 1
Szilárd Podmaniczky

    I had yet to open my eyes. The eiderdown was sweltering and light; weights were chasing each other around in my head, as if I were picking up the pulses of my blood circulation. A dull ache had settled on the nape of my neck. If I opened my eyes, I knew I would feel dizzy. I tried to go back to sleep: an hour or two can be a bonus, sparing the first, most horrendous stage of sobering-up, when nothing is where it should be, when even the faintest spark of strength has gone, when every movement takes five times as much energy and concentration, and it’d be no surprise at all if, one of these days, at a time like this, the world were to split in two.
    With the first move I made, to drink a glass of water perhaps and down an aspirin, a blast of cold air slipped under the bedclothes. I shuddered and shivered. Then a wave of heat surged through me, and I was drenched in sweat. I lifted the bedclothes a few times with my legs, the better to shiver and perspire, to sweat out the toxins. With each fresh wave of heat, I imagined the crumminess seeping out of me into the eiderdown, and when the bulk of that had made the transfer I would jump out from under the eiderdown.
    I caught a whiff of a peculiar odour, a smell of musty whitewash and clothes; the floor radiated coldness.
    We had been three days into celebrating my birthday; that’s how it’s been for years now, and if I can last this out, it really is like being born again.
    I had left my apartment along with others on the first night; we were all wide awake, bar the odd lapse, and traipsing from one place on to the next. After the third day, the very idea of the smell of fish-soup that had been left in my kitchen was scary. Eventually I’d pull myself together somewhere, maybe here, and go back home. I couldn’t take any more; last night in the rain I was already starting to see tiny, iridescent pixies in the light of the street lamps.
    After a while I felt a bit better and opened my eyes a fraction. It was still dark in the room; I could hear the sound of a car, the headlights sweeping stripes of brightness around the

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