Faces Reflected in a Drop


The novel Andlit í spegli dropans, translated to English by Kenneth G. Chapman.

From Faces Reflected in a Drop:

There are four men in the room. Each sits alone in a corner. They are sitting on small iron chairs. Are they perhaps tied to their chairs? They turn their cold faces to each other. And are silent.

Why do they remain silent so long? Could it be because they have nothing to say? Have they perhaps said everything? Emptied themselves. Or are they dumb? Why don't they speak? We will never know. We only know that they are silent. Know that they will always be silent.

There is nothing in the room except these four men. Their faces turn toward each other. And yet I have an idea that they don't see each other. They have perhaps been staring at each other so long that they have ceased to see. Perhaps they are blind.

We can go up to each one of them. Go up to him and stand in front of him, and it seems to us athat he does not see us. His expression does not change in the least as we approach. Not in the least. When we look into his eyes we see that they are dead. They are only eyes, nothing more, nothing behind them, nothing in front of them; and there is no hope that a glimmer will ever be lit in them even if we weait a thousand years. There is nothing in front of these eyes. But we who are standing there looking into these unseeing eyes, don't we exist either? We think this, are frightened by the thought and try to flee from it by looking at the men and asking: How old can these men be?

They are not young. And they are not old. What are they then? Since they are neither young nor old? Well, what?

But we cannot answer uestions. We must consider ourselves lucky if it is in our power to ask. That is at least something, I believe. Because it is tempting to stop asking. And when one has stopped asking, what is there then left? What is there then?