Translation by Adrian Krajewski
He coughed, and it made me jump. It was not his voice. I looked his way and indeed, there was a stranger sitting on the couch, reading a newspaper. I looked around the room – there was nothing familiar in it either. The table, chairs, the painting on the wall – I was looking at these things for the first time. I held my breath for a moment and I closed my eyes, but when I opened them again, everything was still bizarrely alien. How could I not notice that before? I have been here with him since I opened my eyes in the morning. I managed to prepare and serve him breakfast, I washed the dishes and only when I was making tea, this unpleasant sensation of alienation hit me.
He did not notice my perplexion. He was sitting on the couch, reading and with his back turned at me. I decided to make a test. I made the brew and I approached him with the full glass as if nothing happened. He looked at me with a smile as if we have been married for twenty years and went back to reading. So was it just me? I felt suffocation, I wanted to step out immediately and get away from this place. I mumbled out that I was going for a walk and left before he managed to react.
When the main door banged I hesitated. It turned out I didn’t know the area. I wanted to run away from this strange, encompassing alienation nevertheless. I started to walk trying to remember the way, so I could go back to the home I had left. All in all, I did not know where else I could go. After a few minutes, I reached the river. Strange! We have never lived so close to it. When I was crossing the bridge in order to reach the footpath on the other side, I leaned over the railing and looked in the water. The surface reflected some strange face. I was looking at it for some time trying to find familiar features, but the longer I stared, the least I could visualise the image I was trying to recall.
And then I took a strange decision. I, who was not myself anymore, walked back through unfamiliar streets to the house I didn’t know, where the stranger was still sitting on the couch and I decided to pretend that nothing has happened and everything was just fine. I was doing chores until the alienation became the only reality I knew. Only out of habit did I wait for the reality to convert again and restore what I used to call my home and what I have nearly totally forgotten by now.
Photo: Adrian Krajewski