It had been what was called The Old Woman’s Winter. This had been explained to him as a warm spell during wintertime when widows, mostly, would go to the park and, standing, open their winter coats. They would stand, warming themselves, before the winter sun. Confusion, disorder, and the drift of things over time (and times) makes things unclear. It had seemed certain that this custom took place in Hungary. It had seemed certain that this custom took place in Russia. This is the way the architecture of time itself works. It mixes memory and desire. It mixes the blossom and the bole. It mixes what has risen and what is already fallen. (And moreover, Nature, his mother once told him, does not care an iota for the life of Man.)
But, still! Somewhere long ago, he still recalls quite perfectly: “Lichtlein schwimmen auf dem Strome/Kinder singen auf der Brücke.”* And it becomes as though these things, whatever ‘things’ are, like memories, were in stacks of photographs. And that these stacks of photographs themselves were of different sizes and of different finishes. And could be stacked—sorted—accordingly. According to size and finish. But some of them were so close! So many of the pictures were, in fact, identical in form: in shape, in size, in the color of their surface, and in the sheen of that finish. Stacks of different things, different times, different places became—like memories—stacked in the same stack—where they did not belong! But it was not possible anymore to tell exactly where anything did. So, it became impossible, and next to impossible, to distinguish Vienna from Budapest from Moscow anymore, while these cities were of course forever altogether different.
*[Lanterns swimming on the river/Children singing on the bridge].