“Please, sir, I want Pessoa.”
I was sick with flu and fever for a few days. In my state I hallucinated a tiny antique piano being fixed by a giant; his fingers were enormous pillows and he used them very delicately. The piano could be mine for fifty bucks. There was also a cartoon faucet that wouldn’t turn off. I wasn’t able to read or watch TV. When the grueling thing left my body, I sipped some mothermade gruel and convalesced not for the first time in The Book of Disquiet:
I’m tired. I had a long day full of idiotic work in this almost deserted office. Two employees are out sick and the others aren’t here. I’m alone, except for the office boy in the back. I miss the future when I’ll be able to look back and miss all of this, however absurdly.
In the faint shadows cast by the last light before the evening gives way to night, I like to roam unthinkingly through what the city is changing into, and I walk as if nothing had a cure. I carry with me a vague sadness that’s pleasant to my imagination, less so to my senses. As my feet wander I inwardly skim, without reading, a book of text interspersed with swift images, from which I leisurely form an idea that’s never completed.
Another life, of the city at nightfall. Another soul, of one who watches the night. I walk uncertainly and allegorically, unreally sentient. I’m like a story that someone told, and so well was it told that I took on just a hint of flesh at the beginning of one of the chapters of this novel that’s the world: ‘At that moment a man could be seen walking slowly down So-and-so Street.’
What do I have to do with life?
I bowed out of life before it began, for not even in dreams did I find it attractive. Dreams themselves wearied me, and this brought me a false, external sensation, as of having come to the end of an infinite road. I overflowed from myself to end up I don’t know where, and that’s where I’ve uselessly stagnated. I’m something that I used to be. I’m never where I feel I am, and if I seek myself, I don’t know who’s seeking me. My boredom with everything has numbed me. I feel banished from my soul.
Today I’m lucid as if I didn’t exist. My thinking is as naked as a skeleton, without the fleshly tatters of the illusion of expression…The scholiast who annotated Virgil was wrong. Understanding is what wearies us most of all. To live is to not think.
So nauseatingly “I.” So obsessed with the liminal. So perfect when you’re bed-addled and weak.
Who comforts you when you’re unwell?