The Narrator (I/III)

I think about those writers today. Not about their characters, but as the voice-over, the narrator recounting the inexorable succession of events. I wonder if the narrator suffers more anguish than the characters. If he knows what is going to happen, if he feels he cannot feel as his characters do. If deep down he envies their suffering, not just their sporadic joys. If he envies being the protagonist and not the narrator, the spectator who tells the story.

Or maybe he is the spectator who decides. Even so, even if he were the creator god, he envies them. Those insignificant characters who seem to have such a fulfilling life, who seem to live. And what does it mean to live? To be present. The characters are present.

One day, the narrator wonders why he looks at them. Those characters he observes, he envies, he hates at times and at times loves. Only the little theatre is illuminated, the only world. But one day the narrator begins to realise that behind himself, in that darkness that envelops him, there is something. That the little theatre and its characters are not the only reality.

The characters sense this. An almost imperceptible doubt, an instant, as if the world they walk in had held its breath for a few seconds, unsure of where to go next or even whether to go on or not. The narrator hesitates, surprised that his characters can perceive this influence or rather this lack of flow, momentary but real.

The narrator gets distracted, he doubts like a musician who has suddenly forgotten the score and observes how his fingers move over the keys on their own. But they are not his fingers. He is no longer there. His characters are now fully aware that they have lost his attention. Something darkens in the little theatre. The narrator wonders if his attention is what keeps the world alive. If the full life that his characters have depends on being watched, on being watched by him.

The narrator looks at them, they look at the sky, disconcerted, furious, frightened. The narrator has the feeling that his characters are excreted with each breath, that some how they are a waste product of his. Not a creation, but something he can do without and which his body must get rid of.

He keeps looking at them. They lack any interest now. The narrator does not feel for them. He sees them for what they are: conceited characters full of themselves and yet empty. Vapour expired by him and condensed on a mirror, a reflection.

He stares at them. He watches them fall to the ground, sick. He watches how the light in the little theatre fades. And now, with no focus to look at, he looks around. He wonders if he is not the focus in the little theatre of another narrator. If he is not carbon dioxide expired by another.

Nothing happens. He sees nothing. He sits and waits. He notices how his breathing calms down. He is here. He is.

(continues here)