An airport for the third time! Who could have known how stimulating airports can be. Amsterdam. A return to reality. Today it seems like all those unknown faces I wrote about before are irrelevant to me. They are here, but I can’t see them. They walk around, carry suitcases, sleep, heads finding support on other heads. Today they are just shadows, blots, shapeless entities. I see airplanes taking off, their noses cutting through the air, their tails almost touching the concrete runway at the moment of their takeoff. The runway is gleaming with rain, wheels of yellow vehicles loaded with luggage are rolling through puddles. Commotion, departures, arrivals, connections. And I am still somewhere in Antwerp, with short flashbacks to The Hague.
Jaromir sends me a text from the railway station in Antwerp, he is still there. “Right now we are in the most beautiful railway cathedral … the station …” A sort of continuation of our conversation, which was interrupted by a two-hour sleep not that long ago.
Not that long ago DBC Pierre found a 24-hour smoker’s bar next to the theatre. Allegedly the only one in Antwerp, it was so close that not going there would be a shame. It would be a shame to disperse when we get along so well. We are tired after these four days of festival life and work, our tongues are twisting, the first language melding with the learnt one. All the grammatical errors and imprecisions are dissolving in the strong trapper beer. And there are a lot of them. I speak in English to Didi, in Slovak to Taco, but neither of them notices and so they answer. Didi in Dutch, Taco in Portuguese. Denis, whose mother tongue is the same as mine, is speaking to me in a foreign one, but it doesn’t matter, I understand him, because I want to. Didi is starting to speak Czech. Rudish could also speak Czech, but instead he is enthusing with XX, whose face is still veiled in a deep sorrow of sorts, in his German English. He grants us a short, benevolent smile. The sound of cracking glass scattered on the floor, laughter, fatigue, laughter. “Why not?” Asks DBC Pierre. Giggling. Why not? It seems to me like I can understand all the languages of the world, sounds coming and vanishing, everyone and everything. I want to read all the books by everyone here. Find out exactly who is who. I will be surprised, very surprised, when I finally find out. It will be too late for bows. I want to go see the Antwerp cathedral and the main square empty of tourists, at five o’clock in the morning, but no one wants to come with me.
A lady in a polka-dot dress says she will tell the man who wrote the lyrics of the song I dreamt about the previous morning in The Hague, how very much I like it. I am blown away, the world just cannot be that small, such coincidences do not exist, she just can’t know him! “Well, I am from Manchester”, the lady replies calmly. All the roads of the world lead to Manchester, together with the rails of the tower crane in The Hague. The loneliness of the operator cannot swallow us, because we have already been swallowed by this Babylon of languages.
“We also at airport with hangover. Wanderers.”
Jaromir is writing a text message from the airport. He and Rudish are flying via Brussels to Prague, Denis is flying to Paris, Tatiana to Portugal, Didi to Leiden, Daphne is taking the train to Rotterdam, Sam will hopefully catch his flight to London, Patrick to Canada, the lady from Manchester to Manchester, DBC Pierre is at home wherever there is a bar, he has it quite easy.
The spleen is unusually long and deep.