How am I supposed to love you, when I don’t understand you? Dad asked me.
The firemen had just left.
I’m not given anything to eat, they had learned from me.
There was a huge oak in front of our villa. It’s still there. An enormous oak full of years. Quercus robur. I managed to climb it. I didn’t manage to climb down. My shoe betrayed me. It fell. They got me down from the tree.
If something is bothering you, talk to me about it, Zu urged me that night in bed.
We were lying crossways. Then it was still possible. We’d fit in the space. We looked like two little Jesuses. In nightdresses. With splayed arms. Safely and cosily crucified.
Don’t you like being with us? Dad returned to the episode with the firemen at breakfast next day.
How could you think of saying that we don’t give you anything to eat?
No one would pity me for the truth.
And what’s the truth?
I was interested to see if you’d look for me.
For a while nothing happened, we just ate. Then Dad spoke again.
Pejo, does Zu matter to you? Do I?
Do you know what the question means?
I’m asking if it interests you how we are. How we’re feeling.
Today we are sad.
Don’t you like it here?
We do. We’re at home here. We want it to be home for you too.
If something matters to you, you don’t want it to be troubled.
Are you troubled?
We are troubled for you.
After breakfast Dad rose and came over to me. He caught me by the chin.
Pejo, this is important. I don’t have to like the way you see the world. But I want to know what is happening in your head. In future, try asking me first.
If I don’t understand you, I won’t be able to love you.
Will you manage to remember that?
Right. Because it’s really important.
I remember everything.
It was magnificent of Dad that he dealt with me like a reasonable human being. Maybe it would be better to use another word. Magnanimous. Magnanimous is better. I feel quite unsure of myself with abstract concepts. I like them. They have an effect on me like flags. Something festive. With Dad likewise I have a festive feeling. That’s why I use festive-sounding words in connection with him. It was magnanimous of Dad that he dealt with me like a reasonable human being.
I very much want to understand what’s going on in my head. I have good qualifications for that. An exclusive education. An encyclopaedic memory. Emotionally unburdened with profound feelings. Those are the ones that are hard to express in words. Love. Including love of country. Of parents. Of their house. Tomb. Grief at the loss of a close person. Most people are not able to express them in words. I’m part of that majority. I don’t mean to say that most people are without legal responsibility. But that would be logical. Much of my affliction had been successfully eliminated through upbringing. The doctors stated this. When they deprived me of legal responsibility.
How can this be? Dad asked. He has a head full of fine information.
He doesn’t know how to use it, a doctor replied.
The doctors had no doubts about my irresponsibility.
How did it go? Zu asked me, when we got back home.
I never want to have kids.
I don’t want to end up like Dad.
No one loves him. He has to love even such a cripple as me.