Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Michel Layaz


When I was ten years old, I was given a fishing rod. A real fishing rod! With nylon line, a reel, and a black and gold handle. A gift from people I didn’t know, one of my father’s clients accompanied by her husband. As soon as they arrived, this woman and this man—both very tall, very good-looking—handed me the fishing rod, which I didn’t dare touch, doubtful the gift was meant for me, doubtful that people I was seeing for the very first time could behave like Santa Claus, better than, in fact, since Santa Claus does not have the same captivating superiority, does not move with such grace, he doesn’t provoke either the same fear or the same attraction that grew in me and, instead of making me any bolder, tormented me and gave me, despite my efforts not to look ridiculous, a confused, vacuous air. I stood stock-still and looked at the couple with stirrings of panic. Why on earth were they offering a child they didn’t even know an object as charged with dreams and adventures as the fishing rod they were now holding out to me with insistent grace, an object I didn’t dare take in my hands for fear it might disappear between the floorboards, or slip through the gap in a broken tile or fly off, mocking my stupidity and torpor?... Accepting


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