Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

On the other side of the cemetery path was a concrete basin with a tap. He ran some water into a bowl, screwed the lid off the container of stone cleaner, and poured in the strong stuff. He did not immediately notice when some of it splashed onto his coat sleeve; when he finally saw the spot, it did not make much of an impression. Truthfully, it fit his overall appearance. He had not washed or shaved in several days, and his bright brown eyes sought the source of every small sound, be it a rustle in the newly fallen leaves or a bird suddenly bursting into song. Compared to his body, his head was strikingly small; he was quite large, and the grimy coat made him look even more massive. Eigil’s original plan had been to clean the entire stone, and also to scrape off the moss and the lichen, but that would only make the stone dirtier. Indeed, the patina would certainly vanish. He knelt down before the gravestone and, with a small screwdriver, began cleaning the engraved lettering of the accumulated debris. And there were 132 letters in total. Eigil had plenty of time, however, and when he finished his cleaning, he took a paint brush from his bag and began to brush and wash each individual letter with stone cleaner. Just like a scoured corpse, Eigil thought, and a giggle broke through his lips. Exactly – a scoured corpse. Like a skeleton preserved in dry skins, or as Eliot wrote of the whispering voices:


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