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"Moon Boy" (fragment)

...Illness is a powerful and capricious tsaritsa. She does not wait to be summoned but comes of her own accord, with her cooks, doctors and pharmacists. Your "I" turns into a pitiful defenceless being which wants to satisfy her every whim. Oh, how he struggled with her. But all in vain. It settled in our house, assuming ownership rights and we reconciled ourselves to this. First me, then him. I got angry with myself, with my fate. I knew I'd be punished but didn't believe this would happen so soon. Rather the contrary. He didn't wait. He sought a new form of living.
his was the most complicated period in our life. Nor did illness waste time. I tried to persuade him to give up work but he didn't listen. His behaviour frightened those around him. Each day he went to work as if to Golgotha.
Illness was already not concealing its presence. To be interested in health while looking at him was simply sacrilege. Everyone around was playing one and the same game – pretending that nothing was happening. Every time he met anyone he would gaze fixedly, ironically and even playfully into their eyes and with his whole appearance and mode of behaviour would provoke them, letting it be understood that he couldn't care less what they thought of his condition; if they were in doubt, let them, in the last resort, ask, sympathise, take pity. For him the most important thing was not to remain alone with illness...

Translated by Michael Pursglove


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