Fatelessness

…but it was not quite true that the thing “came about”; we had gone along with it too.  Only now, and thus after the event looking back, in hindsight, does the way it all “came about” seem over, finished, unalterable, finite, so tremendously fast, and so terribly opaque.  And if, in addition, one knows one’s fate in advance, of course.  Then indeed one can only register the passing of time.  A senseless kiss, for example, is just as much a necessity as an idle day at the customs post, let’s say, or the gas chambers.  Except that whether one looks back or ahead, both are flawed perspectives, I suggested.  After all, there are times when twenty minutes, in and of themselves, can be quite a lot of time.  Each minute had started, endured, and then ended before the next one started.  Now, I said, let’s just consider: every one of those minutes might in fact have brought something new.  In reality, it didn’t, naturally, but still, one must acknowledge that it might have; when it comes down to it, each and every minute something else might have happened other than what actually did happen, at Auschwitz just as much as, let’s suppose, here at home, when we took leave of my father.

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