De Amerikaanse schrijver, dichter en componist Paul Bowles werd geboren in New York op 30 december 1910. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 30 december 2007en ook mijn blog van 30 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 30 december 2009.
Uit: The Stories of Paul Bowles
“No,” the musician answered, and he played several more notes.
Amar went over to the door.
“Is there still time?” he said.
He stepped inside the door. There was no light, but he could feel warm air blowing upon his face from the corridor to the right. He walked ahead, letting his hand run along the damp wall beside him. Soon he came into a large dimly lit room with a tile floor. Here and there, at various angles, figures lay asleep, wrapped in gray blankets. In a far corner a group of men, partially dressed, sat about a burning brazier, drinking tea and talking in low tones. Amar slowly approached them, taking care not to step on the sleepers.
The air was oppressively warm and moist.
“Where is the bath?” said Amar.
“Down there,” answered one of the men in the group, without even looking up. He indicated the dark corner to his left. And, indeed, now that Amar considered it, it seemed to him that a warm current of air came up from that part of the room. He went in the direction of the dark corner, undressed, and leaving his clothes in a neat pile on a piece of straw matting, walked toward the warmth. He was thinking of the misfortune he had encountered in arriving in this town at nightfall, and he wondered if his clothes would be molested during his absence. He wore his money in a leather pouch which hung on a string about his neck. Feeling vaguely for the purse under his chin, he turned around to look once again at his clothing. No one seemed to have noticed him as he undressed. He went on. It would not do to seem too distrustful. He would be embroiled immediately in a quarrel which could end badly for him.
A little boy rushed out of the darkness toward him, calling: “Follow me, Sidi, I shall lead you to the bath.” He was extremely dirty and ragged, and looked rather more like a midget than a child. Leading the way, he chattered as they went down the slippery, warm steps in the dark. “You will call for Brahim when you want your tea? You’re a stranger. You have much money….”
Amar cut him short. “You’ll get your coins when you come to wake me in the morning. Not tonight.”
“But, Sidi! I’m not allowed in the big room. I stay in the doorway and show gentlemen down to the bath. Then I go back to the doorway. I can’t wake you.”
“I’ll sleep near the doorway. It’s warmer there, in any case.”
“Lazrag will be angry and terrible things will happen. I’ll never get home again, or if I do I might be a bird so my parents will not know me. That’s what Lazrag does when he gets angry.”
“It is his place here. You’ll see him. He never goes out. If he did the sun would burn him in one second, like a straw in the fire. He would fall down in…”
Paul Bowles (30 december 1910 – 18 november 1999)