Johanides, Ján: The Sources of Sea Attract the Diver (Potápača priťahujú pramene mora in English)
Potápača priťahujú pramene mora (Slovak)
Zobudil som sa za súmraku a v prádznej izbe sedel iba starec, mne vtedy ešte neznámy ako sám večer. Hlavu znezreteľnenú tmou a obrátenú ku mne si opieral o noviny na stole. Zdalo sa mi, že jeho pozorujúci pohľad mi vzal sen.
Hádam vytušil, že som už hore, lebo sa pohol. Malíčkom si pretrel ústa. A pri strašne pomalom dvíhaní zo stoličky sa vlastne iba čoraz väčšmi hrbil, takže keď už stál vzpriamený, nakláňal sa iba nad svojo tôňou tesne nad obrusom, kým jeho hrubé prsty čulo obchytávali jeho kraj.
Vstal som. Starec postupoval k nočnému stolíku. Nohy neohýbal v kolenách, posúval ich len opatrne pred sebou a ja som rozsvietil. Ale mohlo byť zhasnuté, sám som svetlo nepotreboval a starec asi tiež nie, lebo bol slepý. Samozrejme, tušil prítomnosť cudzieho, ale nevládal sa asi narovnať, preto len zavrátil hlavu, akoby si ma chcel poprezerať. Spodnú peru vychýlil, až vyklonil. Zvláštne sa mu zachvievala. Jej nerovnomerný pohyb mi pripomínal akési hmatanie. Mal som pocit, že oči nahrádza perou, a odvrátil som sa od tohto pohtadu bezzubých úst.
Veľkým skrčeným ukazovákom postupne dospel až k odstávajúcemu uchu. Siahol si po bujných chĺpkoch, čo mu z neho klíčili. - To si ... ty ... Vladko? - Spýtal sa tichučko. Pousmial sa. Odvetil som, že nie, a tiež som sa usmial na neho. - Som tu nový, - povedal som po chvíli a starcovi sa roztriasla hlava. Otvoril ústa, azda na reč, ale triaška zaútočila i na ne, ďasná mu narážali o seba a v snahe pomôcť si robil krátke, no dosť prudké pohyby rukami, akoby niečo oddeľoval alebo trhal. Pokrčil obličaj a opäť vysúval tú spodú peru ako tykadlá. Vykročil ku mne. Napodiv, teraz ohýbal nohy v kolenách. Podával mi ruku. Keď som už pocítil jeho remeňovitú dlaň, díval som sa mu do riedkych, krehučkých vlasov. Aj ľavú ruku mi ešte prikladal k zápästiu a jeho rozbehané prsty mi vnikali až pod rukáv plášťa. Starec stál mlčky a tak, akoby mi vyjadroval sústrasť.
Do izby vošiel asi tridsalročný chlap. Čierne vlasy mal ulízané ako istý hudobník, čo hrával v Štefánke. Okrúhla tvár sa vyjadrovala úsmevom. Pristúpil zozadu k starcovi a položil mu obidve ruky na slepé oči. - Uhádni, kto je to? - povedal zhovievavým hlasom, akým sa oslovujú deti, keď sa ktosi chce nimi potešiť. Starec zachrčal, prehol sa, akoby šiel spadnúť, vyceril ďasná a radostne opakoval: - Vladko, Vladko. - Vtom vstúpila do izby aj ošetrovateľka a vyvolala ma na chodbu. Ošetrovateľka nerozhodne zastala, akoby nevedela, či so mnou rozprávať pri chôdzi alebo nie. Spýtal som sa jej, o čo ide. Pozrela na mňa plachými, ale i sústredenými očami a potom ich sklopila, akoby som jej niečo vyčítal. Neustále si hladkala líce pri správe, ktorú oznamovala: Manželka sa vám zabila pri Modre na aute. Díval som sa práve na mosadznú kľučku. Bola na nej prischnutá škvrnka bielej emailovej farby a z ošetrovateľkinej reči som si zapamätal, že „ten dolu už čaká“.
Šiel som za ošetrovateľkou, hoci neviem, či ma vyzvala. Zastali sme pred malou miestnosťou, kde som si poobede zaniesol šaty. Okolo dvier obchádzala i staršia žena v smútku. Pristavila ošetrovateľku. Z jej slov som vyrozumel, že prišla po šaty svojho manžela. Ošetrovateľka už odomykala, keď sa jej žena v smútku spýtala, prečo má červené líce. Zdalo sa mi, že sa jej to spýtala a usmiala sa na ňu len preto, aby ju ošetrovateľka nenechala čakať a nevybavovala najprv mňa. Uvedomil som si súčasne, že ošetrovateľkino líce je červené od toho pohládzania pri zvestovaní smrti mojej manželky.
Ale ošetrovateľka sa zvrtla ku mne, podala mi košeľu, pletenú vestu a kravatu. Žena v smútku ju chytala za rukáv a mne sa stretli prsty s jej zápästím. Žena v smútku si ma premerala maličkými očami, ktoré sa takmer tratili v jej tvári. Malý, prehnutý nos mala posiaty vriedkami, zasahovali jej i čelo, ale neprekračovali za prvú vrásku. Ošetrovateľka nervózne strhla môj oblek z vešiaka. - Budem tu, - povedala, - auto vás čaká.
Rozhodol som sa, že nepôjdem do izby, ale oblečiem sa v záchode, lebo do izby sa už asi poschádzali pacienti. Navliekol som to všetko na seba v strašnom chvate a mal som pritom pocit, akoby sa za mojím chrbtom smialo tisíce ľudí ako diváci. Spotil som sa pri tomto obyčajnom úkone obliekania. Skoro by som sa odvážil povedať, že som až zoslabol z neho. Neviem, prečo som si rozviazal už uviazanú kravatu. Vložil som ju do vnútorného vrecka a zacítil som dym. Asi niekto tajne fajčil v záchode.
Nemohol som sa zbaviť toho pochabého pocitu, že za mnou stoja rady rozrehotaných divákov, ktorí už vopred stanovili môj život ako nejaký osud a teraz sa zabávajú, ako sa s ním vyrovnávam. Bolo to na smiech, ale tento pocit som už raz mal a bol mi smiešny, ako aj teraz. Zažil som ho po pohrebe svojho otca, ktorý zomrel uprostred vojny. Kráčal som predmestím popri trati, potkol som sa. Okolo šli ľudia, zasmiali sa a poznamenali, „aby som si dal pozor". Tiež sa mi zdalo, akoby tí ľudia boli naplánovali smrť môjho otca i môj ďalší život a akoby ma upozorňovali tým svojím „dajte si pozor“ na to, aby som sa dal konečne nahovoriť na hnev.
Ošetrovateka mi vyslovila sústrasť a potom pokračovala so ženou v smútku. Povedala, že všetko je už zariadené.
Taxík čakal pri vchode do kina Metropol. Šofér vyšiel z voza, keď som pristúpil k jeho sklám. - To ste vy? - spýtal sa, či iba poznamenal, akoby ma poznal. A tu som si uvedomil, že vlastne ani neviem, kde Marta je, zabudol som sa na to opýtať alebo som si nezapamätal, čo hovorila ošetrovateľka. Musel som, samozrejme, zatelefonovať na „naše oddelenie“, no zistil som, že ošetrovateľku nepoznám podľa priezviska. Šiel som teda hore.
- Vidíte, celkom som zabudla povedať vám to, - ospravedlňovala sa. Stretli sme sa na chodbe a nepotreboval som ju kdekade zháňať. - V Trnave ... v nemocnici. Viete, spýtajte sa na tú haváriu na vrátnici. To stačí.
V aute som privieral oči. Nie preto, že by sa mi hádam chcelo spať, len z toho dôvodu, aby som nič nevidel a nemusel vnímať ani svetlá reflektorov.
Vrátnik v nemocnici akoby ma už vyzeral a chcel „to mat čo najrýchlejšie z krku“. Bez slov, skoro náhlivo ma voviedol do márnice, a len čo som otvoril dvere, zrak mi padol na Martu. Ležala na stole zakrytá kusiskom igelitu až po zovreté ústa. Chumáč vlasov jej siahal až na ľavé obočie.
Na stoličke pri jej hlave sedel príslušník VB, za ním stál nízky lekár s plešinou a pri jej nohách ten vysokoškolák a mladý autor, s ktorým som sa zoznámil doma pred tou služobnou cestou. Mladík mal obviazanú hlavu a oči plné sĺz. - Srdce, - riekol príslušník VB, vstal, zvihol igelit, no vzápätí ho ihneď pustil a zatiahol ním aj tvár nebohej. Nezazrel som nijakú krv. Lekírv prikývol. Príslušník VB, zdá sa mi staršina, pristúpil ku mne a prvý mi vyjadril sústrasť. Nato pokračoval: - Je to síce ... také, ale nakoniec musím. Poznáte tohio súdruha? - obrátil obličaj k mladíkovi a ja som prisvedčil. Staršina potom vytiahol blok, pýtal si občiansky preukaz a ešte predtým, než ho otvoril a začal písať, oznámil : - Autu sa v podstate nič nestalo. - Povedal som mu, že ma to nezaujíma.
- Musíme ju pitvať, - povedal lekár po staršinovom odchode. - Dostala podľa mňa porážku, keď auto vyletelo z cesty. Tu súdruh si rozbil len hlavu o sklo, normálne vyšiel z auta a bežal telefonovať do Modry. - Lekár smrkol, ukazovákom si nenápadne pritlačil ľavú nosnú dierku a znovu smrkol. - A keď sme prišli, bolo po nej. - Zahľadel sa na mňa. Oči sa nám stretli, mal ich hnedé ako riedka čierna káva a svedčili o únave. Dohovorili sme sa, že po Martu si môžem prísť zajtra večer, lebo bude už po pitve, a spýtal sa, či som to oznámil príbuzným. - Nemá nijakých, - odvetil som mu. - Rodičia jej zomreli už dávno. - Vedel som, že Marta má nejakú sesternicu kdesi na Spiši, ale za jedenásť rokov, ktoré som s ňou prežil, nebola ani raz u nás a ani si nepísali. - Bola celkom sama, keď ste si ju vzali? - ozval sa znovu lekár. - Áno, odpovedal som, - sama. - Tu lekár vstal, vybral si z plášťa okuliare, letmo utrel ich sklá o plášť. - Nechám vás tu ... - zašepkal. - Musím sa pozrieť hore, - vzdychol. - Upozornite potom vrátnika, prosím vás. - Nakoniec mi vyjadril sústrasť. Chvíľu držal moju ruku v svojej. Bola mäkká a horúca, akoby mal horúčku. Pokyvoval pritom hlavou a mne pripomínal toho starca na našom oddelení.
The Sources of Sea Attract the Diver (English)
I got up at twilight and there was only an old man in the empty room, then a stranger to me. His head was indistinct in the darkness and turned towards me as he leaned on a newspaper on the table. He seemed to me that his watchful gaze had removed my dream.
I supposed he'd noticed that I was awake because he stirred. He wiped around his mouth with his little finger. As his slow and dreadful rise from the chair went on he, in fact, became more stooped. So that when he was standing completely he was bending over the tablecloth close to his shadow while his thick fingers briskly tapped its border.
I got up. The old man moved to a beside table. He didn't flex his knees. He moved them very carefully in front of him and I switched on the light. But it could have stayed off. H didn't need the light and neither did the old man because he was blind. Of course, he had sensed the presence of a stranger, but he wasn't even able to straighten up. So he only moved his head as if he wanted to observe me. He twisted his lower lip to one side until it stood out. It was an unbalanced movement which reminded me of something like groping. He seemed to me that he had substituted a lip for his eyes and I turned away from his toothless mouth.
With a crooked forefinger he slowly reached towards an outsize ear. He reached the luxuriant hairs which sprouted from it, "Is it ... you ... Vladko?" he asked very quietly. He smiled. I answered that I wasn't and I smiled at him, too.
"I'm new here," I said after a while and the old man's head started to tremble. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but his shaking reached his mouth. His gums writhed against each other and to help himself he made a short but rapid movement with his hands as though he were separating or tearing something apart. He screwed up his face and again pushed out his lower lip like a feeler. He stepped towards me. Surprisingly he now bent his knees. He gave his hands to me. I felt his leathery palms and saw his thin, delicate hair. He put his left hand on my wrist and his spread fingers could be felt through the sleeve of my gown. The old man stood silently as if he were expressing his condolences.
A thirty year old man came into the room. His hair was slicked back like one of the musicians who played in the Štefanka. His round face had a smile on it. He came up behind the old man and put both his hands on his blind eyes. "Guess who it is?" he said patiently in the same voice that we use to address children when we want to play with them. The old man trembled, bent as though he were falling. He showed his gums and repeated happily, "Vladko, Vladko."
Then a nurse entered the room and called me out into the corridor. The nurse stopped irresolutely as if she didn't know if she could speak as we walked or not. I asked what was going on. She looked at me timidly, but with a fixed stare and then she let eyes fall as though I wished to blame her for something. She continually rubbed her cheek after giving me the following information: my wife had been killed near Modra in a car. I lust stared at a brass door handle. There was a spot of dried enamel on it and I remembered the nurse's words, "There is someone waiting downstairs."
I followed the nurse although I don't know if she asked me to come. We stopped in front of the small room where I'd put my clothes that afternoon. An older woman dressed in mourning passed the door. She stopped the nurse. From what she said I understood that she'd come to collect her husband's clothes. The nurse had already unlocked when the woman in mourning asked why her cheek was red. It seemed to me that she only asked the nurse and smiled at her so that she wouldn't have to wait until the nurse had finished with me. At that moment I realised the nurse's cheek was red because she'd been rubbing it while she announced my wife's death to me.
But the nurse turned to me and gave me my shirt, my knitted waistcoat and my cravat. The woman in mourning caught at the nurse's sleeve so that my fingers touched her wrist. She looked me up and down with tiny eyes which had almost vanished in her face. Her small bent nose was covered in blackheads which reached up to her forehead although they didn't go further than the first wrinkle. The nurse pulled my suit off a hanger nervously. "I'll be here," she said, "A car is waiting."
I decided I wouldn't go to the ward because patients were there and I dressed in a toilet. I tidied myself in a hurry at the same time feeling there a thousand people laughing behind my back. I was sweating from the simple act of dressing. I might even say that it made me weak. For no good reason I took off my tie which I'd already done up. I was putting it in an inside pocket when I smelt smoke. Perhaps someone had been secretly smoking in the toilet.
I couldn't rid myself of the silly feeling that there were rows of guffawing spectators standing round me who'd somehow decided my life as though they were destiny and were now enjoying themselves with how I might accept it. It was funny, but I'd had such a feeling before and it had been as funny then as it was now. I'd had this feeling after the funeral of my father who'd died in the middle of the war. I'd walked through the suburb along the railway line and stumbled. People who'd been passing by laughed and observed "Take care!" It also seemed to me then that these people had planned the death of my father and my future and as they warned me with their "Take care," I'd at last become angry.
The nurse expressed her condolences and then turned to the woman in mourning. She said that everything had been arranged. A taxi was waiting at the entrance to the Metropol cinema. The driver got out of the car when I came up to his window.
"Is it you?" he asked as if checking on someone he knew. It was then I realised that I didn't know where Marta actually was. I'd forgotten to ask or else I'd forgotten what I'd been told by the nurse. I'd have to call the ward in the hospital, but I didn't know the nurse's surname. So I went back.
"You see, I forgot to tell you," she apologised. We'd met in the corridor. So I hadn't had to look everywhere for her.
"In Trnava... in the hospital. You know, ask about the crash at reception. That's all."
I closed my eyes in the car, not because I wanted to sleep, but because I wasn't able to see anything not even the light off the reflectors.
The door-keeper in reception seemed to have been waiting just for me and wanted to get shot of everything. Without a word, almost hastily he led me into the mortuary and as I opened the door I saw Marta. She was lying on a table and was covered by a large piece of sheeting pulled up to her closed mouth. A lock of hair hung down to her left eyebrow.
A policeman sat on a chair next to her head. Behind him stood a short doctor with a bald head and by her legs was the student and young author whom I'd met at home before the business trip. The young man had a bandaged head and his eyes were full of tears.
"Heart," said the policeman and got up and drew back the sheeting. But he immediately dropped it covering the face of the corpse. I didn't notice any blood. The doctor nodded. The policeman seemed to be a sergeant. He came up to me and first gave me his condolences. Then he continued, "It's like this ... so anyway I'd better ... Do you know this comrade?" He turned to the young man and I acknowledged him. The sergeant took out a notebook and asked for my identity papers. Before he started to write he observed, "The car isn't in bad shape." I told him that I wasn't interested in that.
"We'll have to dissect her," said the doctor after the sergeant had left. "In my opinion she suffered a heart attack as the car ran off the road. Our comrade here only cut his head on the glass. He got out of the car easily enough and ran to Modra to telephone." The doctor sniffed and pressed his left nostril slightly with a forefinger, then sniffed again. "When we arrived she was gone." He fixed his gaze on me. Our eyes met. His were as dark as weak black coffee and they were tired. We agreed that I'd fetch Marta the next day in the evening after her dissection. He asked me if I'd inform her relatives. "She's got no relatives," I declared. "Her parents died long ago." I knew that Marta had got a cousin somewhere in Spiš, but in the eleven years I'd survived with her she hadn't visited us and they hadn't even exchanged letters. "Was she completely alone when you married her?" the doctor asked. "Yes," I replied, "Alone." Then the doctor stood up, took his glasses out of his gown and lightly cleaned them with it. "I'll leave you here," he whispered, "I've got look upstairs." He sighed, "Tell the door-keeper, if it's not too much trouble." At last he gave me his condolences. He held my hand in his for a while. It was soft and hot as though he had a fever. He shook his head and reminded me of the old man in my ward.