Your last letter arrived the day before yesterday and as I had two filming days, I put it in my pocket and read it twice over in peace on those long trips.
You live a peaceful life, protected by your family, bearing the right name in the right country, even living though the bad times as a full member of the nation and you sigh over your degree: „This historical material is basically all just a show of the most extreme violence and despotism and the desperate powerlessness of the people. I am now pretty upset by all these horrors.“ And then several lines later you write: „Before I forget, what does your endless fear stem from?“ How can you write such a stupid thing? Surely I needn't describe the entire history of the Jews, say, over the last two thousand years? Where do I start? What can I leave out? How the Romans and the Greeks butchered and incinerated this country several times over? How in the Middle Ages the Jews were outlawed, anybody could kill them and then be praised by the church? How they killed my Dad, Mum, brother, grandfather, all my relatives and schoolmates – six million, one million of whom were children? How the SS smashed babies against walls to break their skulls? How they transported people in cattle wagons to the gas chambers? How Lithuanians, Croats, Ukrainians, Poles, Hungarians and others took part in all that? How to this day anti-Zionism and antisemitism are easily confused? And you, with your nonsensical, romantic ideas of joining the Jewish religious community etc…Do please leave it out once and for all. I am not afraid, living here, I don't need to be afraid any more. It's you I fear for. Do leave off.
A propos, bring your raincoat, they say it sometimes rains in Italy during June.
„Both gracious and fair,“ I wanted to say to you with a weak touch of humour at Innsbruck airport. But I couldn't say anything for crying. Then I watched you through the glass until you went into the departure area and I quietly wept. Then I got into the taxi with tears pouring and pouring down all the time. On the way I decided to phone Anička to say: „You were crying when Klára left you for me and now that she is leaving me for you, I am the one who is crying.“ I stammered it out somehow – I could barely speak. Anička said in a steely voice that I was to come to Prague. So much then for confiding in the people you were talking about the evening before.
The room was empty and awful. I went off into the woods. I've never been there so early in the morning. I walked along the path where we got wet. The weather was fine and I was calmed down by the flowers, the birds and mechanically placing one foot after another. In the woods I kept looking at my watch: now she's landed, now she's in the taxi, now she's at the station, now she's left Vienna. At noon: now she might already be at the border. As I entered the casino: now she's almost in Prague. An hour later: she's home now. Not having any other number from you, I bet on thirteen for two hours. It didn't come up. To the hotel to phone you – too much!
„Klára,“ I call again and again – „Klára“ – and nobody answers. The pegs in the wardrobe are squalid with emptiness. I left my food on the plate and ran out of that monstrous dining room. I might never come here again.
I won't send this letter now – I shall cautiously wait for your letter and that will decide me on whether or not to send this one.
Nobody is smiling at me and nobody is saying „goodnight then“ either.
You do know what has happened: I have fallen in love with you. (Perhaps I should say it differently, but it wouldn't be true).
With everything that I am and everything that I have ever been, everything that has ever pained me and everything that was ever beautiful, everything I have been as a man and everything I have not been as a father. With everything I have ever imagined, all the fantasies, the adventures and the poems that I have ever read and those I never wrote – with youth that was and old age that is, simply everything.
The sky has that miraculous evening light of Bergdorf and it is thundering in the distance. The present is slowly but surely becoming the past. Gracious and fair. God, how it hurts. May God keep you safe. I'm glad I'm going home tomorrow.