Sunday, March 22, 2009

Post 567 : Passages 49 : Milan Kundera, Identity : The sound of dying

Milan Kundera, Identity, Pg. 74

Chantal smiled, and Jean-Marc went on to another memory: ‘ I had just turned fourteen, and my grand-father – not the cabinetmaker, the other one – was dying. There was a sound coming from his mouth, that was unlike anything else, not even a moan because he wasn’t in pain, not like words he might have been having trouble saying, no, he hadn’t lost speech, just very simply he had nothing to say, nothing to communicate, no actual message, he didn’t even have anyone to talk to, wasn’t interested in anyone any more, it was just him alone with the sound he was emitting, one sound, an “ahhhh” that broke off only when he had to take a breath. I would watch him, hypnotized, and I never forgot that, because, though I was only a child, something seemed to be become clear to me : this is existence as such confronting time as such, and that confrontation, I understood, is named boredom.My grandfather’s boredom expressed itself by that sound, by that endless “ahhhh”, because without that “ahhhh” time would have crushed him, and the only weapon my grandfather had against time was that feeble “ahhh” going on and on.’

‘You mean he was dying and he was bored?’

‘That’s what I mean.’

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