Por Flávio Marcus da Silva
Snow is falling in Budapest. The old city is beautifully white and cold. Some tourists walk over the Buda’s Hill, near the castle where the Habsburgs and other kings and queens used to live. The sky is crying sadly… The Chain’s Bridge is almost empty. A young man is there, looking down the river, his body half bent forward over the bridge’s edge. His eyes are wide opened, but I think he sees nothing. It seems he’s looking into the darkness… into himself… Maybe he’s crying… like the sky.
My wife wants to visit the Mathias Church up there, but I don’t want to go. I need to stay here, feeling this wind, seeing that man, thinking about him. He looks young, maybe he’s 30 or 35, I don’t know. He has a long brown beard and his hair is hidden by a wool hood. He looks sad and lost.
What are you looking at? my wife asks. The river, I say, the Danube… It’s so beautiful and sad… I’ll be there, she says, pointing to the church.
The young man is waiting… He has not decided yet. He’s alone. He’s desperately sad. I want to go there and talk to him. I want to know what he thinks about his life, this city, this river, its history and everything…
I’m 35. I’m growing a beard… And I’m desperately sad.
The Danube is huge and old. We’re nothing compared to this river. How many lives ended in its waters? How many men killed themselves by jumping off the bridge into it? Who were they?
I’ll talk to him. Maybe he could speak English. My English is bad, but he will understand me, I think. He looks like a young Czech or Hungarian teacher. Sociology, History, Philosophy… Maybe he’s a writer, a poet who nobody reads – an unpublished poet, a desperate and sad poet.
I’m almost there. Hey! I shout, but he doesn’t hear me; and he can’t see me because he’s looking at the river.
The Danube is dark, mysterious… It’s a frozen god… or a demon… And he’s calling…
Hey! I shout again, but the young man continues mesmerized by the river. Hey, don’t do that! He’s jumping. Oh my God! Help! Help! He jumps! Stop, man! Stop! He falls.
I’m here. Where?! Nobody fell. I was dreaming… Did you see that man? I ask somebody. No. Nobody fell. There’s nobody in the water. I’m getting crazy.
My wife is up there, waiting for me, but I will not go… I can’t. I’m going away… alone… To Belgrade, Vidin, Ruse, the Black Sea, Odessa… Wherever… That’s what I want…
Someone is shouting. Hey! Don’t do that! Don’t… But I jump. I’m going… to everywhere…