²² A daguerreotype
An old man — a local — is seated on the decaying old walls and doesn’t appear to be doing anything else. A nod, he answers :
How’s it doing, brother ?
I would have wished to have been able to walk on in silence. Something bothers me in this tone, or is it the generic smile or the eyes — the urge to respond hastily, with a gush of violence has seized me. Perhaps it is this fraternisation... I had previously liked it and perhaps even felt vaguely honoured by it... it appeared to me as an unbearable intrusion when he spoke: sick words, dragging me — a citizen — towards some incestuous depths. I’m neither your brother nor your sister (I bark). Nor your uncle or cousin. Do not invite me to your foreign kingdom, among your Dead and your Wounded. I do not share the habits that your folk have taken up in this tongue. Tomorrow, if I wish, I’ll take the first boat and leave.
I wish I could have uttered…(Later on, alone, I will repeat the words again and again.) But I don’t speak the locals’ language well and only mumble a feeble greeting as I pass on, hunched.
His eyes follow me, as if saying — brother, no boat leaves from here anymore.