In the bright light of the afternoon the world seemed deserted. The birds too slept without a voice. The clatter of Vida's hooves on the asphalt dissolved in the hot silence. She sleepily swished her long white tail, whiter than any other horse's in the world.
I sat on the buggy's wooden seat between Father and Onkel Fritz, drowning in the scent of the clover hay. The top of the Codlea hill had wrapped itself in a thin mist. "It's going to rain," they said. But the world had stopped in its tracks. It seemed as if nothing would ever happen again.
We pulled up at a picket fence, the planks long and sparse- with ivy like unmoving water in the unmoving air. Father drove on to attend to his business. Onkel Fritz and I passed (through a low wooden gate) into the unknown garden.
Here is where my sister lives. Other old sick people are living here too... look, some of them are over there under the trees, Onkel Fritz explained to me in a low voice. My sister cannot leave her room.
We climbed the old stone steps (We were good friends with the people whose mansion this had been. From beside me, Onkel Fritz tossed these words at me like a ball). Steps phantasms twisted in his large frame. He smiled. Through the still air I felt a huge heart beating.
We went in. The room was all white. The light seemed to pass through the walls. Ivy at the window. On the walls, pictures of ravines in the Tyrol mountains.
Manna Tante, seated in the midst of the room, her hands in her lap, paralyzed. She had gotten paralyzed on the stage like that, in other times.
"You're here," she cries out from her armchair. And the air between them seems to expand.
Her face and his face become young. They are children again. Because they, too, were the closest, the naughtiest of all the brothers and sisters. They kept seeing each other, hurriedly, between two train trips on their travels through Europe.
And now he's back again, back from the larger air. The light grows in waves on her face. She embraces him with her arms, two dry branches.
Their many lives lie inside me like a heavy snowfall.
A long time later Vida's neighing signals that it's time to go. Father is waiting by the gate.
A few people graciously see us out. We leave them behind. How white and quiet they are. They wave to us until nothing more can be seen on the horizon.
Curtains of warm rain laden with light race across the fields as if in play - and cut across our path