The Happiness Diary – fragment, by Nicolae Steinhardt
“1968: Outside a bakery an old beggar, small, discreet. I give him 3 or 4 lei*.
He takes off his hat, respectfully, and thanks me for a long while. Why, I don’t know – the memory of my father, the physical resemblance (small and stooping) – his gesture – so polite, the shame of being saluted by an old man for a few lei, the onslaught of images of prison in my memory, revelatory of the human condition’s wretchedness – but I burst out crying in the middle of the street, like a madman.”
The Happiness Diary- fragment, by Nicolae Steinhardt
Translation: memyselfandela, 2012
* Lei was the old comunist Romanian currency. In the present we use RON (New Romanian Lei).