Monday, August 24, 2009
Maybe you have to be a walker to get this very short story by Tomas Espedal. I am. I do. It's reminiscent of Emerson's "crossing a bare common" exultation.
...the sunlight strikes a traffic sign and I am struck by an unexpected shaft of happiness. It simply says: You are happy. Here and now. For no reason. In this instant you are happy, unreasoningly, like a gift. There’s no other way to describe it. I have no cause to be happy, hungover and dejected after four days of solid drinking, living on my own in a filthy house on a miserable street, sleeping on a mattress, without furniture, deserted by the woman I thought I’d be able to live with. I’m in the process of destroying myself, a grim and determined effort at self-destruction, drinking and going to pieces, and suddenly I’m happy. Why? Because sunlight strikes a road sign? I have to stop and catch my breath. I feel a warm and jubilant transparency inside me. Thoughts reawaken and lose their dullness, it’s a thoroughly physical experience, my thoughts brighten, and I start walking again, lighter this time, up toward Nygårdshøyden and the city center. Slowly it dawns on me: you’re happy because you’re walking.