The mist had been heavy and opaque over the land. Where the snow dampens the volume, the mist seems to be packed with cotton. Even close to the display, appearing schematically. Fraction. Separation. Are you there? Those who are further away are no longer to be seen, are hidden, invisible. Does a person disappear because it is not visible?
“Just as senseless as the question of whether a tree makes a noise when it falls over and there is no one there,” Ruben said to himself, who had left his carving to look outside. Questions without meaning, ultimately. Questions, which are nevertheless exciting and can deal with a while, if one wants. Again and again. There will never be a satisfactory answer.
“Just as senseless as what?” Lilith asked, sinking her book. It had taken a short while before she had found the way from the story she had just read back into the room and the sentence Ruben said. It had taken a while before she came back. It is good to read and remain in it. It is good to be where you are.
“Whether a person still exists if he disappears from my field of vision,” explained Ruben. He was working at the divine infant for her crib, because it is good to do something with the hands. That was his explanation. Something that also has a meaning. Just like a crib for Christmas. He had planned it for a long time. But for him alone, he was not worth the trouble. It is much less trouble for yourself. Mostly. For people who are close to you, rather. Pleasure to prepare, that is the background. Does joy exist when one is for oneself. If the tree is at all. If a man continues to live, he will go. There are many such questions.
“Does a person who I see only passing by, exists for me at all, whether he stays or goes?” Samuel interjected, “Did my grandmother have a life as long as I did not visit her? Were you as long as I did not know you?” He had his laptop in front of him and interrupted his work as well to participate in the conversation. There had been silence in the room, a gentle silence of activity. Ruben carved, Lilith read, Samuel worked on the computer and Rebekka drew. All four were there. All four caught their own activity. Were either for themselves or with each other.
“Man is small and awkward and limited,” Rebekka told her, peering her gaze from the leaf in front of her. Not only had Ruben, in the so-called history of salvation, gone a few steps further, beyond the events of which Christmas was conceived. History of salvation, a history of coexistence.
“Small and awkward and limited,” Samuel repeated thoughtfully, “It sounds so degrading. When you consider what man invented everything. What he has done great, I mean, you think too badly of man, or simply too small. “
“Small and awkward and limited,” Lilith repeated, as if to remember the words or simply to understand them even more. The little prince had done it. The words repeated to keep them in his heart. “It is not small thinking of man, it is to him as himself. Man is, by itself, all that, small and awkward, and limited. But he will, when he turns. Your grandmother lives when you are not with her, even if you do not think about her. But her life is different when she tells you, even if you only think of her. It is different in a co-existence, even if it is only a mental one. “
“Small and awkward and limited,” repeated Ruben, “And needy. It’s quite different whether I’m sitting here, carving with you, or whether I’m doing it all alone for myself at home. Even if each of us is deepened in his own deeds, we know that we are there. That we only need to lift our eyes to see each other. That we only have the word to each other to find in a conversation. It is something else to be together.”
“Even if we leave the together, dive into the fog and go away, it will continue,” Lilith added.
“So long as we do not forget each other. It is good to know that you can return,” Samuel said, and his eyes spoke of abandonment as well as of the coexistence they had become.
“It’s good to be here,” Rebekka said, answering Samuel’s gaze as she heard him.
“You can be very close to each other without being together,” said Lilith. “Like in a waiting room. People sit close together because there are so many who wait and the space is too small to keep distance. If there are few people in the room, then a chair is always left out. If it is possible to keep distance, people keep distance from each other. I do not want you to touch me because I do not know you. They read newspaper or watch their cell phone or they look down. Just do not look at the other person’s eyes, so it can be avoided. I do not want you to touch me because I do not know you. And then, if one rushes into the group of waiters in the little room, one who knows nothing about meeting a secret, unspoken agreement, one who is looking for the conversation, no matter how uninhibited , which evokes reactions. Amazement. Strange. Some people turn away demonstratively. Others do not know how to deal with it. Irritation. He does not know about it. Some smile and look happy. They themselves would not have dared, but they also knew about the agreement. And then they leave the waiting room. It has no meaning. Those who adhered to the agreement disappear because they were never there. But the one who did not agree to the agreement remains. Small and awkward and limited. Man has invented and learned many things, but he remains needy. Not that existence itself stopped. Not that life ends when you do not remember me anymore. But it is still as if I were going out there, and the fog would swallow me, as if I had never existed when the intercourse ceased. I am alone for myself but in another way than when you are there and you say to me and give me your attention and your thought and compassion. It’s different in being together. “
“Is not it exciting?” Rebekka said, letting the question float a few moments before she caught her again, to answer her, even if everyone knew what she meant, ultimately, she could answer the question herself, “A few days ago you were not there for me, but now there is a co-operation that I take with me, even if I go, which keeps me, even when I am not there. And when I come back, I do not have to worry about whether it still exists, because I know. “
And that evening there was a band in the display, a narrow band, tied with a little stitch which could be loosened and tied back, but it was necessary to do so, each one for itself, to give coexistence for present.