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01. the witch's house: 001 The world is made of cities, and the spaces between them. / There was a time when I did not know this, because from the witch's house I could not see any cities; only space. For as long as I did not know this, I could not look out upon the sea and sky without feeling mildly discontent. Now I know; and...
01. the witch's house: 002 Standing on the porch of the witch's house I can see as far as the edge of the sea, where it curls up against the edge of the sky. If I run down to the hill and look in the other direction I can only see where the moors end and the mountains with their white heads and tree-blackened slopes begin. / This...
01. the witch's house: 003 I've asked the witch where the priest comes from; she says where you come from isn't as important as where you go home to. I've asked the witch where the priest goes home to; she says that he has none. I've listened to them talk, and I've heard her ask him where he's going to each time he leaves, and...
01. the witch's house: 004 I've asked the witch where I come from; she says that she doesn't know. I've asked the witch where I go home to; she says I may stay as long as I please. I've asked the witch if I may have a wolf; she says I may have a cat. (However, looking at the cat, I do not feel the same way that the priest does...
01. the witch's house: 005 There's a kind of dream I have where I'm walking through a dark space, following a string I hold in my hand. In the background there's a giant silence, like the stillness of a deep pool. Sometimes I imagine fish swimming through it, and the pink spikes of lotus flowers spinning on their giant leaves...
 
01. the witch's house: 006 I think of the wolf when I have this kind of dream (and the priest, walking towards it). In winter, especially, the snow will constantly remind you that the wolf has remembered the priest, and show you where it has waited for (and found) him. / And I will think of it for a long time -- perhaps almost...
01. the witch's house: 007 And sometimes I wonder: where do those words come from? Do I dream of them so that I may recognize them when I hear them, some day when I am finally awake? / Or do I hear them, spoken carelessly, and then forget that I ever heard them -- perhaps the witch had suddenly performed a truly mindgrasping...
01. the witch's house: 008 Because it is so hard to make any sense of things when looking at them piece by piece, I always go back to the beginning: the world is made up of cities, and the spaces between them. / I know this because I asked the priest one day, what is there after the very end of the sea? And what is there after...
01. the witch's house: 009 'From the beginning, let's not fool ourselves. Cities will never overcome the spaces between them. As much as one city would like to meet another, it is sometimes hard for one city to even see another city. / 'But roads are not useless to cities. One city can send many things to another city, if they...
01. the witch's house: 010 'They are created as separate things,' the priest said. 'Even if they send many things to each other, they will never see or feel what really happens to each other. Even if they build a bridge between them, or put buildings all along the sides of the road that connects them, they will always just be...
 
01. the witch's house: 011 I asked the witch if she had a wolf, somewhere, and why she did not try to look for it. She replied by making me wash the dishes (which I disagree with because we are always going to use them once they are clean, the way I disagree to make my bed because at night I always unmake it by morning). So I...
01. the witch's house: 012 So it seems to me that there are two kinds of things you can do, in this world. There are the things you do that you will always be doing again, because you always end up undoing them. Like washing dishes, and making beds. / Then there are things you can only do once, and you cannot undo them. Like...
01. the witch's house: 013 Each day something seems to rise with the sun and drift slowly overhead, waiting, like the wolf; and each night it leaves, with a feeling of ghosts in the air. Like something disappointed. / I think I would very much like to see a city. But from where I stand, I can't even see a road.
02. a greying watchtower: 014 One morning, I decide that I will look for the priest before he comes looking for the witch. / I tell the witch that I am leaving, and I will wash the dishes when I come back (she is baking so regrettably there will be dishes afterward to wash). / She says all right, and goodbye. / Halfway down the...
02. a greying watchtower: 015 I try to think of her saying other, happier things. Like the time when she told me, she did not know where I came from, nor where I was going; but if I did not want to go anywhere, I could stay. / But as I remember more and more nicer and happier things about her, the stronger the wind seems to grow,...
 
02. a greying watchtower: 016 Standing in the shadow of it, I want to pretend it is a city, and that I have finally seen one, and that I am happy. / (It is hard to pretend.)
02. a greying watchtower: 017 And I think: if I go inside, it is only for a few yards. Such a small distance surely cannot change how far I have walked from the witch's house already. / (It is very hard to pretend, but sometimes, when it is just as hard to walk away, it is possible to pretend to be brave.) / So it is that I step...
02. a greying watchtower: 018 In the center of the watchtower there is: a door. It does not stand in the middle of a wall. It is a door, and it is in the center of the watchtower. / (This is where I learnt that the loneliness of an item can be more interesting than the abundance of many.) / Around the room I can also see windows,...
02. a greying watchtower: 019 There are rules of possession for everything I know of. The wolf belongs to the priest. The cat belongs to itself. The books I read belong to the witch. There are many examples, but these are the best. Everything belongs to someone else, willingly (the wolf) or unwillingly (the books), or to itself,...
02. a greying watchtower: 019 I fail to open the door. It will not swing, will not fall, will not crumble, will not slide; I push and pull at its wooden sides, kick and scratch at its paper panels, and still it stands. / And after a while, I sit down to rest, feeling warm and sticky and tired, and I think: I will give up. If this...
 
02. a greying watchtower: 021 I pick them up again; the keys and their keychain are cold and smooth and heavy in my hands. While trying to open the door I did not see a keyhole for keys, so these cannot be the keys that open the door. But, looking at the keys and keychain again, I can feel a button on the side of the keychain, like...
02. a greying watchtower: 022 Why did you stop being a door? I ask him. And do these keys belong to you? / 'Thanks,' he says, and nothing else. / Perhaps, I ask, it is better to be a man than a door? / 'Well, I'll be taking off then,' he says. / And, while I am trying to decide how that answers my question, he asks: 'Do you need...
02. a greying watchtower: 023 What is a lift? I ask him. And who are you, since you are now not a door? / This time he does not make any kind of reply. It occurs to me that perhaps he cannot hear me speaking to him. / So, I decide to try another way.
02. a greying watchtower: 024 'Hm,' he says. 'I am Valentine, and a lift is something that goes up and down. / 'It's also a favour someone can give you, if you need to get somewhere far away and you don't know how you're going to get there.' / Well, I think, I only need to get back to the witch's house, and I know how to get there:...
02. a greying watchtower: 025 It is easy to see that the windows are set very high in the walls; they are where the only light in the tower falls from. Although, the entrance of the watchtower may also be used as an exit, I tell him. / (But it seems he likes windows more than doors.) / Are you jealous of other doors? I ask him. / 'Save...
 
02. a greying watchtower: 026 'I mean,' he says, 'I am OK with any other door in any other city. Blown up and busted through and kicked down a lot of doors in my time, but I got nothing personal against them. Generally doors are fairly decent. / 'But the last time I walked out the door of that tower, someone died, so I'm not doing...
02. a greying watchtower: 027 I ask him my most urgent question. / 'Which city?' he asks. / I answer. / Again, he makes no reply. For a moment I wonder if he, like me, only knows of cities that are invisible. It is a very long moment, and although the sunlight on the seashore is very bright, all I am aware of for that moment is...
02. a greying watchtower: 028 At his next grand gesture, I expect to see a second door opening, or at least, a second door turning into another type of Valentine. / But, unless Valentines sometimes have legs and sometimes have wheels, and snore with the sound of engines purring, I do not think that what he is looking at is another...
02. a greying watchtower: 029 'Save you writing it down,' he says to me, once again; 'I'll tell you exactly what it is. It's a Duck.' / It is /not/ a duck, I say. It is clearly a motorcycle, and a very nice one, even if I have never seen one outside of a book. But then again it belongs to him, so does it matter if he calls it the...
02. a greying watchtower: 030 And at the same time I am also thinking: how do I write down, to explain to him, that I actually came down the hill to find the priest; and that I promised the witch I would go back, and wash the dishes? / Of course, I could just go back up the hill, without even having to make him understand. (The...
 

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