• ANSEME1 - Texte original

    That day it was cool and rainy. Anna decided that she had to buy shoes. We were going to a hotel in the Catskill Mountains and shi needed a pair of summer shoes. We had a neighbor who had a daughter of fifteen. This girl loved our little Natasha. Her name was Dorothy. Anna had complete confidence in Dorothy, and she left Natasha with her. Because of Anna's lack of English, I accompanied her. Shu would never enter a store without buying something, so as not to disappoint the merchant. But when it comes to footwear one cannot be too considerate. I was supposed to see to it that she didn't buy shoes that would be too tight or a pair that the salesman wanted to get rid of. We lived on Second Avenue and Eighteenth Street, which was then considered uptown, and many wealthy people had moved into this neighborhood. By this time I had become a dental technician. It wad a new profession in America, and it paid well. There were many shoe stores on the avenue and we window-shopped, passing from one to the other. After a wanted to return to my work. Anna had already bought socks and panties for the baby, and she gave them to me, saying, "If I don't find the shoes I want, prehaps I will try Fifth Avenue."

    Those were her last words to me. That was the last time I saw her. Many hours later, I informed the police. It was evening. The Irish policeman considered the whole affair a joke and he advised me to wait until later that night, or until the next  morning. About one o'clock I returned to the station, and the policeman on the night shift suggested that my wife was probably visiting her boyfriend. Just the same, he wrote down everything and told me to come the next day if she had not returned. I went back for days and weeks. Anna had disappeared like a stone in the water. People came up with theories you would expect. Perhaps she had a clandestine lover. Perhaps she had found her lost fiance, Vladimir Machtei, and the old love had rekindled. Perhaps she had decided to return to Russia and throw a bomb at the czar. From the police I had learned that not only men ran away in America but women as well. But none of the cases about which I heard compared to mine. Anna had no lovers. The baby was dear to her. If Vladimir Machtei wanted to know Anna's whereabouts, he could have written to her grandparents. In all the years we had been in America, he never showed a sign of nature or fate - call it as you like - a person born to lose and to be lost. She lost her money, her possessions, her fiance. She might have lost the child, too if she had not got lost herself. I say "deep in me" because my reason would never accept anything so irrational. What does it mean? How can a thing become nothing? The Pyramids have stood in place for six thousand years, and unless there is an unusual earthquake, they may last for another six thousand - or sixty thousand. In the British Museum and here in the Metropolitan, you find mummies and artifatcs that have endured for many centuries. If matter can turn to nothing, all of nature is a nightmare. This is what my logic dictates to me.


    A Crown of Feathers, Isaac Bashevis Singer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc. 1970)

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