The hole of Mr. U
My father had a factory to make holes. Above all he made little holes for hats, little bells and gloves. He made the holes in flutes, wheels and hourglasses. He spent all his time imagining extraordinary holes, unique holes for every object. He went to every effort to perfect them, levelling them and turning them on his lathe. He would skilfully imprint each hole with just the right measure of chance and absence. So that each of them would have its own identity every single one was provided with a prudent dose of the infinite.
One day, many years ago, Mr Nomar Adebu arrived at my father’s factory. Mr Adebu had travelled all around the world. With his top hat and his suitcase full of paper and coloured pencils he had crossed mountains and deserts. He had slept on hillsides of lava and meerschaum and had plied impossible seas. He had conjugated all the verbs, and had cried listening to the songs of masked princes, that flew from window to window, and to the fables of frail princesses that distilled water and soap. He had seen cities made of stone and cardboard, marble towers, and he had written down and drawn everything he had seen. But Mr Adebu was tired. He wanted to be alone and he wanted to sleep. He wanted to shudder in the rain and he wanted the sun to bathe his face as the clouds parted. He wanted to hear the grass grow and he wanted the southern breeze to rock him to sleep. He asked my father to make him a fantastic, immeasurable hole, a piece of nothing, an endless space where time would pass serenely. My father locked himself away for days in his workshop. Weeks went by, perhaps years, until he presented Mr Adebu with his hole.
Inside his hole Mr Adebu created his own rites for life. For the first few days, which passed between dream and silence, he only slept. Then he took his paper and pencils from his suitcase and he drew marvellous artefacts which he named with words that had never yet been pronounced, and he imagined beings from other galaxies for whom he invented languages that had never been heard. He drew an olive tree and he muffled himself up under its crown. He drew a staircase to climb to heaven. He drew a window and a cage which he filled with birds that he then set free. He drew an open door through which entered autumns, memories and melodies. And he let time pass peacefully.
It took him some time to see it, but the edges of his hole were imperfect. A small chink, intangible, almost imperceptible, let in a fine thread of light. At first it did not bother him, he didn’t even notice it. But as the days and nights passed he observed how this small cone of light, insignificant but untamed, lay in wait for him every morning, its shaft of light shining across his hole, and how, with thin, pointy fingers as long as roots, it would caress, tint and give texture to each of the crests and banks he had drawn for himself. The light changed the meaning of things, it made the universe waver and then, just as sweetly, it would disappear.
Nomar Adebu drew a hole within his hole as well as hundreds of mountains of stones to shore up the edges. He locked himself away inside his hole within a hole for days and nights. He could no longer sleep. He walked around in circles following his own footsteps. An immense feeling of nostalgia gradually swept over his heart. He could only think about the light that every morning would cause him to sigh, to sweat and bring him whirlwinds, downpours, smoke, asphalt and siestas. And other infinities. He drew for his light a colossal tower of Babel, a cage made of rice paper and a piece of cloud. He drew a shower of shooting stars and meteorites. And he drew a restless star, awkward and fragile, with its edges gathered in. He called it Dedentrohaciafuera or “From-inside-towards-the-outside” and he let it turn pale. He drew a clear sky and a switch. He filled the sky with stars and turned the light on.
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