Uit: In Babylon (Vertaald door Stacey Knecht)
“The last time I ever saw Uncle Herman, he was lying on a king-size bed in the finest room at the Hotel Memphis, in the company of six people: the hotel manager, a doctor, two police officers with crackling walkie-talkies, a girl who couldn’t have been more than eighteen, and me. The manager conferred with the policemen about how the matter might be settled as discreetly as possible, the doctor stood at the foot of the bed regarding my uncle with a look of mild disgust, and I did nothing. It was just past midnight and Herman lay stretched out, his white body sinewy and taut, on that crumpled white catafalque. He was naked and dead.
He had sent up for a woman. She had arrived, and less than an hour later his life was over. When I got there the young hooker, a small blond thing with crimped hair and childishly painted lips, sat hunched in one of the two white leather chairs next to the ubiquitous hotel writing table. She stared at the carpet, mumbling softly. Uncle Herman lay on his back on the big bed, his pubic hair still glistening with … all right, with the juices of love, a condom rolled halfway down his wrinkled sex like a misplaced clown’s nose. His pale, old man’s body, the tanned face with the shock of grey hair and the large, slightly hooked nose evoked the image of a warrior fallen in battle and laid in state, here, on this dishevelled altar.
I stood in that room and thought of what Zeno, with a touch of bitterness in his voice, had once said, long ago, that you could plot family histories on a graph, as a line that rippled up and down, up and down, up and down; people madetheir fortune, their offspring benefited from that fortune, the third generation squandered it all, and the family returned to the bottom of the curve and began working its way back up.”
Marcel Möring (Enschede, 5 september 1957)