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He asks me whether I am happy and I counter him right away: what is happiness? – and he starts to mumble, a mudlark, wagging his tongue. Happiness, man, is all your wishes coming true. Exactly! All or nothing! What are you saying, it’s not possible? Excuse me, we are not discussing possible and impossible here. And there is a simple way, known from times immemorial, for having your wishes come true – you just touch the earth’s shadow. Hey, he croaks again, how can it be done? I have found the way for me, and textbooks confirm that when there is a lunar eclipse, the earth’s shadow covers the entire moon, meaning that up there even the last of the boneheads is happy! You get it, don’t you? See you on the moon. Come on, I’ve got so many other things to do. And stop saying it’s impossible, you’re getting annoying. You asked me, I gave you an answer… Wait, I’ll trust you with one last thing – it is not certain that even on the moon all wishes materialize, but if even just one wish does, it is something, right?
So that you’ll know, my childhood dream was to walk a tightrope, like some children dream of becoming sea captains, astronauts or ice cream vendors. This dream was born twenty years ago when the circus came to our neighborhood and our entire family sat in the box next to the manege because somebody had given my grandpa passes. Lights went off, just a searchlight and a man in fiery clothes who started dancing on an invisible wire, and on the very next day the boys in the yard stretched the clothesline between the sour cherry tree and the fence and started twisting on it, but didn’t let go off the tree branches. Let me walk the rope too, and they said – piss off, you’re no good! In the evening, when they all went to their homes, I climbed the fence and not letting go off the sour cherry tree, I made one step on the rope, then a second step, then I grazed my knee in the gravel, then the other knee, the third time my forehead oozed blood, and I whimpered in bed with my head in bandages, that this was my dream, the rest become astronauts and vendors for all I care, and when my head got better, I started getting poor grades. When my parents scolded me for not studying, I told them that I want to walk the tightrope, and they looked startled at each other, only my granddad snapped – rise in life and do whatever you want. Then my dream subsided and I started to carry out my granddad’s instructions with all my might. I got lucky, from the attic offices I rose to the third floor and on the very first day when I saw how close the opposite building was, my chest grew warm. I ordered for my necessary equipment to be brought to me and I personally watched them tighten the rope, assemble the starting platform under the window and place the ornamental sour cherry branches along the railing. I am quite good at it already, in the morning I come to work and run several times to the opposite wall and back to keep in shape, and the serious stuff I do during my lunch break, when people gather for a smoke and throw envious glances up in my direction. I am perfecting the dance with a sword on my forehead and next week will be my official debut before an audience. I am happy, it’s stupid not to be happy when you’ve attained your childhood dream, so I’ll reveal a secret to you – pretty soon I’ll take down the rope and… first step from the starting platform, then a second step, and no holding to the ornamental branches, then I reach the opposite window, then back, and then again. This will serve them right, those rascals from the yard, this will show them how good am I, walking on air between the two walls like a fiery man. I just have to rise from the third to the second floor, where the largest offices are, three crystal chandeliers each, like my granddad taught me.
Man is not perfect, you must have learned this at your own cost if you have set great tasks for yourself, still more, if there has always been someone to sneer at you and tread on you – and our imperfections are thousands, one of the worst being our short life, not even a hundred years. With so little time on your hands, how are you to discover the wheel or build the Cheops pyramid when on top of it all, we sleep through one third of it. Once I picked up an autogenic training brochure and I read that five minutes of autosuggestion is like a three hour sleep, and I’m thinking like ten minutes equals six hours of sleep, so this will leave me twenty three hours and fifty minutes daily for grand deeds. I set the alarm, stretched on my back and began telling myself how calm and relaxed I was and I started visualizing the wheel I had discovered last week. I got up – head felt like I have been drinking uncontrollably for a fortnight, so I leafed through the brochure again – turns out the main precondition was to forget who I am. Alright, and back to eyes closed and I repeat to myself how I am floating on the water, and in my mind I am already inventing the bicycle pedals. I got up feeling as if I have sprinted to the sea with just a short break at every one hundred kilometers – my only desire was to fall back to sleep, so I barely found the strength to finish the brochure. Turns out I’ve missed the most important part – to set myself free of my thoughts. I turned off the light, slipped beneath the blanket and – I have no thoughts whatsoever, I know not who I am, nothing bothers me, an entire procession of pharaohs lines up before my closed eyes, each one standing in front of his pyramid and they bow to me – you are the boss! – and all those who sneer at me and tread on me now wallow in my legs. Man is not perfect, but tenacious he is. I lie twenty four hours a day, I squeeze my eyelids shut and my mind revolves – I have no thoughts, I have no thoughts. Even if it takes me a hundred years of autosuggestion, the brochure promises an endless amount of time, but in the end I will attain perfection and this will serve them right for treading on wheels and pyramids!!