Each day I will translate a page of a book written by one of my favourite Romanian authors. I really do believe that one of my responsibilities as a translator is to promote Romanian culture through its cultural and artistic figures. This is one of the reasons that makes me happy to be a Romanian. If was born an English living in the U.S or the U.K. I don’t know if I had ever discovered the Romanian literature and art. This is why I am grateful for being here now and for being able to share this literary piece with you. Read it with a song.
“We’re leaving… “he whispered. “When are we leaving?”
“Tonight”, Nora answered and barely then she realized that his question might have been an acceptance, although it was asked vaguely, with the same shrug.
“Is it for real? You agree? You are willing to go?”
“No, Nora. Why do you insist? It is pointless. Everything is pointless.”
His voice brought her down. It was something definetively fallen, definetively broken, in the weariness with which he spoke. And, still, for a moment, and the departure seemed very likely…
“Why are you stubborn, Paul? You are a man who lost all the games. You were saying: I have nothing to offer, I have nothing to lose. Well, as you cannot lose anymore, because you have nothing to risk, accept this departure like a game and let me play for you…”
She stopped on purpose in front of a window shop with sports clothing, on the Elisabeta Boulevard, crossed with Calea Victoriei. There were exposed skis, ice-skates, iron-tipped walking sticks, boots, an entire stok of accesories made of wood and metal, which shone in the window sitting on an artificial wadding snow and white spangles. The mannequin dressed as a skier, with the full equipment, ready to depart, smiled with a movie smile. Paul was seeing through them. All those accesories seemed complicated and especially uninteresting to him.
“Please, don’t make fun of me Paul, but when I feel very unhappy…because it happens to me too sometimes…”
She could not finish the phrase. Suddenly tears shone into her eyes. “Abandoned…unhappy…so many words that are hard to say! She tried to rephrase:
– When I feel bad, when everything is wrong, when I seem to be chased by bad luck, well, then I buy myself something new…a dress or if I don’t have enough money, a scarf, a trinket…Not out of coquetry, nor frivolity. More out of superstition. To conjure the fate. To trick it. I think if I am dressed differently, it will not recognize me, it will mistake me by someone else, it will pass by me without noticing me…You, who are a surperstitious man, why don’t you have the superstition of starting something new? Why don’t you want to do a thing you have never done before?”
Pages 153-154, The Accident by Mihail Sebastian, Editura pentru Literatura, 1969