The artist sauntered slowly along the road. A lush cornfield was thriving on one side of the road, and wide-crowned beeches towered on the other side of the road. “How interesting – even at this time of day one can observe the smooth transitions from one form of speech to another”, remarked the artist with a joyful heart.
He remembered that it was raining and his watch showed four o’clock. But was it four in the morning or afternoon?
“I don’t know, no idea. I emerged from the club, and the sky was cloudy.”
He noticed a road sign: “Steep ascent”. The artist felt his heart start thumping and he stopped. “It’s time to have a little rest and sort out the nooks and crannies of my memory”, decided the artist. He emptied his pockets, pouring out a handful of memory fragments and laid them in a row by the roadside. These bits and pieces of memory that he did not remember and which tended to slip through his fingers, found places across the road. The artist sat down and perceived immediately that the moment had arrived when all else fades into obscurity. The beauty of life clings to you jealously and elevates all your actions to chapters that sparkle like dew drops. The body of reality lost its blunt appearance and the sky was filled with expected clouds.
Soon there was something sticky in the air, and also under his collar.
The known and the unknown were boisterously joined into a gripping crescendo and all of the surroundings, along with him, subsided somewhere. Everything was whirling round dizzily, dashing colourfully up and down, only to be engulfed by a grey sleepy fog.
The artist dozed off. He was just about to perceive modernist thoughts in his head, was already yearning for sunspots and black holes, when merciless reality struck him anew. A few security men arrived and, despite his protests, dragged him back to the Kuku club.
“How did I come to be here again?” muttered the artist, seeing lush cornfields on one side of the road, and tall, wide-crowned beeches on the other side. When his eye caught the sign “Steep ascent!”, he disappeared rapidly into the beech grove, snatching up all the fragments and bits of memory, and then sank wearily to the ground. At the same time, he recognised in himself a considerable increase in idealism and readiness to protect anything that could not be grasped with bare hands. And an overpowering wish to restore the whole, to turn it from visible to more visible, gave him no peace.
Soon the artist found himself again among his fragments, and his inner self was pierced by an eager wish to be the demiurge that restores a lost civilization on the basis of pot fragments which have been unearthed from a dark corner of distant history. Perceiving a considerable increase in responsibility, the artist now laid these fragments in gold-cut proportion.
The sky was clearing and the barley grew in a mild wind, when he suddenly remembered what the Master had said: “Where walks our revered Curator, the trees become more firmly rooted, barley grows higher and the sky clears.” What joy, then, when the artist cheerily yelled: “Curator, are you there!” and started looking for him nearby.
“Curator, where are you?” he screamed incessantly in the beech grove.
There’s nobody here, grieved the artist and his disappointed glance wandered over the cleared sky, until he noticed high above amongst the tree branches a hat, with its crown turned upwards.
It was the Curator’s hat, he remembered. Eagerly he climbed the tree in order to find among the branches the lost Curator. But the Curator was nowhere to be seen, neither here nor there. Only the sour-grey shadows kept sniffing at him from under the trees and bushes. “Of course, that’s not possible”, thought the artist more calmly, when he remembered that the Curator was at home at this time.
The artist felt lonely and unhappy, and the distant horizon was even more distant. He sighed desolately and his thought, shivering with cold, was on its way towards the Curator. The artist pushed his hands deeper into his pockets and touched something pleasantly warm. He pulled out a hot-water bottle and it occurred to him that this was a consolation from the Curator. It had to be carried about all the time, so that the violent bouts of coughing and severe cold would not assault such a defenceless body. Happily the artist pulled off his sodden boots and placed his bare feet on the bottle. So a sweet wave of warmth ran through him, opened up all the cells and tissues and the artist’s tender thought floated with quiet devotion above the Curator’s home. “I wonder how our revered Curator is doing over there? He is no doubt awfully busy and might well be still awake at the moment. I imagine him stooping over his desk in order to glue scyphistomic strobilisations on the Curator’s articles and dossiers and, with a presence of mind typical only of curators, he is able to grasp the ensuing ephyrs.”
The sky had cleared even more and the leaves quivered gently in the steam of drying clothes, blending with a sweet aroma of barley and it seemed as if somebody was plucking a zither right here at his feet. The artist’s softened glance wandered around for a while, until he found a pair of brand-new shoes at his side and he formed a grateful verse with the shoe-laces: “Revered Curator. Many happy returns of the day!”
PS. How the artist’s old boots ended up under a table in the Kuku club and how he himself reached home, barefoot, none of us will ever know.