Today I wrote a friend who is dying and said look: tomorrow without fail you must contact your estranged daughter, I guarantee you she would far rather know than not. I got a message back from the daughter saying my mother is too weak to speak but she much appreciates the messages I read to her every day.
I was going to write someone else, that I have wanted to thank for fourteen years. She made a suggestion nobody else had dared. It was indiscreet to be in touch for the first few years afterward, and later I still hesitated. I would write now, but I have lost track of Susan. I am still grateful.
I am recycling things. I saw a poem by one Tadeusz Dąbrowski that I will copy out. Time never passes, and everyone is everywhere now.
Yesterday I sent you a letter. And today on the phone
you tell me you are pregnant. I pack up and return,
you greet me at the airpirt, you’re even lovelier than
in my letter that’s on its way to you. We build
a house, our child grows, our parents shrink,
then a few years of sweat and tears, in which we prudently
pickle cabbage and gherkins for the ever-colder days.
In the coloring book of our life there are fewer and fewer
blank spaces, the crayons grow shorter, we try to be precise,
but even so we go over the lines. We busy ourselves
with everyday matters, and our paths are ever
deeper, they start to look like tunnels. Meanwhile
my letter’s on its way to you. You’ll open it when
it suits you best.
–Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
Time never passes, and everyone is everywhere now.