I keep a close watch

…a woman quietly and modestly asks for admittance, she asks with a timid smile, hushed movement, almost as if in the archaic disguise of a barefooted maidservant with flowing hair.  She asks admittance to my – how shall I say it without using banalities, those banalities that I can’t avoid, though, because what else shall I say since that ancient tag has worked since time immemorial and has worked quite excellently – she asks for admittance, then, to my ultimum moriens, that is to say, to my heart; once admitted, she looks around with a pleasant and curious smile on her lips, she touches everything with gentle hands, dusts here or there, airs out musty corners, throws away a few things and replaces them with a few of her own belongings; neatly, carefully, and irresistibly she makes herself at home until, finally, I find myself displaced, totally excluded so that nervously, like an exiled stranger, I avoid my own heart, which beckons to me from afar with closed gates, like other people’s cozy homes to the homeless.  Frequently, the only way I can move back is when I arrive, hand in hand, with another woman and establish her there.

-Imre Kertesz


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