Trafika Europe 11 - Swiss Delights

Michel Layaz

to a cage, a jail. I had ears only for the sound of her steps retreating from the room. I separated out the impurities, the laughter, the arguments, the pleasantries, the true stories; all I heard was the cupboard door open, the lid of the garbage can rise then fall, the cupboard door close, and my mother’s steps in the opposite direction, my mother returning to us after having gotten rid of the image thatmight encourage someone—not anyone close to us or anyone reasonable—but it might inadvertently encourage some naïf, some idiot to ask questions, to wonder why, to want to clear up the mystery behind this terrible flood . She will return, her hands empty. When I open my eyes and look at her, her hands will be empty and there won’t be the slightest evidence of what she has just done. For a second time she will condemn me, cast me out, she will condemn the instigator of the terrible flood, a wisp of a son, disposable, a little man- child unworthy of attention, to whom this condemnation will never be explained. My mother has rejoined her guests. She banters, she buzzes from one person to the next, my mother who harvests smiles from the adults as well as the children, my mother who, for others, wears a glowing mask radiant with sunlight, whose dazzling lips pearl her words with sublime sensuality, imbuing them with flesh and life. She illumines and is crowned for it. None can match her beauty. I waited for her eyes to fall on me, I waited for her to utter words for me, for


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