|Название||The Great Ski-Lift|
|Автор произведения||Anton Soliman|
|Жанр||Современная зарубежная литература|
|Издательство||Современная зарубежная литература|
THE GREAT SKI LIFT
Translated by: Carlo Pratt
We all begin by building a centre to live our lives in accordance with the rules of Tradition. Yet on achieving consciousness, we realize with dismay that itâs a prison to escape from without harming anyone. To this dilemma a solution exists: reach the top and find the Great Ski-Lift. In the immense, the key to everything can be found...
The Immersion Point
Although early afternoon it was almost dark. Oskar was cold; impossible to stay in that lifeless forecourt any longer. He was growing tired: after rising at dawn and driving a great distance for many hours. The journey had been strange and taken him across unknown territory. Highway 26 South ran westward towards the great plains and traced a full U-turn before the Sierra mountain chain, followed by a dirt road full of potholes along an unfamiliar and tortuous route.
The mountain range stretched endlessly alongside the highway yet heâd never been curious enough to see it up close. He only knew they were remote and deserted, part of a land that didnât belong to him. A fictional canvas where nothing would be familiar: no plans to carry out, no reference points. It was late; he had to find a hotel for spending the night. Going back at this point in a strange region was unwise.
The village lay down-valley from the cable carâs forecourt. Only after navigating several twists and turns did the first houses emerge, stone constructions with smoking chimneys. A few lights were already on.
On the village outskirts, a figure unloaded hay for a stable from a filthy carriage. He was a squat old man, wearing a brown velvet jacket. The slow pained movements indicated fatigue.
- Sorry to bother you, - said Oskar leaning out of his window seat with an awkward look: - I wondered if thereâs a hotel nearby.
The old man gave him a calm steady look before slowly approaching the car.
- Further down, before the village ends, thereâs a fellow called Ignatius. You'll see a green door with a yellow lamp. I know he has some rooms.
- I understand thanks. A door with a yellow lamp, - repeated Oskar, enunciating clearly to show heâd understood the directions.
- That's right but look carefully as the lamp is often off. In fact, tonight it's definitely off.
Oskar drove at a snail's pace checking each door, looking at everything with manic care, like a cat entering a dark attic. He crossed a small square with a brightly lit tavern, snatches of conversation wafted through the glazed windows. The sounds of locals inside playing cards.
At the village outskirts, he spotted the hotel easily: the building was bigger than the others and seemed almost alive. It was straight out of a children's book, as if carved from a large pumpkin; the lit windows resembled two open eyes, and the light filtering from the door akin to a wide-open mouth...
He left the car and knocked on the green door. A man shuffled forward to open: - Good evening, I need a room for the night and a bite to eat if possible. -
- Of course sir, please come in. Is your luggage in the car? Good, donât worry and make yourself comfortable, I'll send someone to take it. -
Oskar stepped inside as the man scuttled ahead switching on lights. The smell of soup hangs heavy in the air. The innkeeper welcomed him into the dining room: the stacked tables in the corner, revealed poor quality floor tiles. The fireplace was artificial and looked like it had probably never worked. The hotel was a newly built monstrosity.
The innkeeper excused himself to the kitchen, to check what meals were available. Oskar saw the dining room had been built over much older architecture. The original walls were ancient, and the wooden door could be from an oak tree cut down centuries earlier. The smell of stale soup grew stronger.
The dining room was cold, and Oskar started fidgeting left to sit there waiting. He felt frozen stiff, and above all pretty disappointed by the start of his holidays. After a few minutes, a female figure slipped out of the wooden door dividing the private rooms from the hotel.
He heard a voice call out to the slim figure.
The innkeeper returned with a satisfied air: - My dear man, you are a lucky man! Tonight we have a delicious soup, followed by cabbage stew, and a cheeseboard with our fancy cheeses.
- I donât mean to be rude, - said Oskar, clearing his voice, which echoed loudly in the empty room. â Iâd love to eat but this place is freezing, I can feel the cold right in my bones...anywhere warmer to eat in?
The man looked embarrassed, - Youâre quite right. Weâve turned on a powerful heater in your room so you won't have any problems tonight, but regrettably, it is cold here.
The hotel hardly works during the winter apart from an occasional salesperson. You'll see, a hearty dinner will do you a world of good,- he concluded smiling.
Oskar appraised the dining room's state in detail and thought that all public places were mostly squalid in any case. There was nothing here to chime with his past or shine a light on the future. People needed to find traces of themselves in some form; would this hold true in future? As this kind of research makes no distinction between past and future. You can easily lose yourself in the future too.
Perhaps Oskar's spirituality had turned rusty because of this very opaqueness. What made him slip over the Wall that the original Self fled from? An event that could certainly be traced back to childhood. Everything important happens during childhood when everything is seen for what it is.
When a great Singularity is present and events run in a neat sequence, like scenery viewed from a train.
Oskar often thought of what had happened during those years. He was now convinced of having slipped into an extreme state of oversight. This could have happened on the street, maybe looking at a dog, or at the bakery, maybe the cinema. Perhaps one morning he'd woken at dawn and looked in the mirror with excessive intensity: the speculative Self had gone too far and was now lost forever in the Symbolic space...
- Sir, youâre quite right. Itâs cold here and I doubt that an electric heater will warm the place up enough. Come and eat with us in the kitchen if you don't mind. - He had glimpsed the female figure in the half-light. A prim looking female with hair wrapped in two braids that divided her head exactly in two. A white shirt collar peeked out from a blue dress creating a reassuring look, pleasing Oskar in that moment.
= Thank you very much, Miss, that's a great idea. There's an unbearable cold, which has chilled me right to my bones!
The woman opened a door and motioned for him to pass through the narrow corridor leading to the kitchen. The large room had an old-fashioned stove in the centre covered in bubbling pots. The innkeeper, with presumably his wife, and a silent old woman were seated at the table. The room was pleasantly hot. This was definitely the original older part of the inn.
- Please, pull up a seat, - said the innkeeper with a broad smile, - My daughter is quite right, the dining room is far too cold. You know, I would have invited you to eat myself but I was worried it was not appropriate.
Oskar sat down at the head of the table while the woman served him hot soup.
- Do many people pass through here, Mr...? - he said, glancing up at the wooden ceiling.
- My name is Ignazio, this is my wife Margherita, our daughter Clara, while this old trooper is my mother.
Everyone smiled; Clara poured him some beer and sat down alongside him with a happy look.
Oskar started eating with gusto and immediately felt almost euphoric, a strong reviving glow from inside.
He was in the best seat and the people around him had an expectant