Samstags-Lob (5)

"I once saw a bloke try to kill himself. I´ll never forget the day because I was sitting in the house one Saturday afternoon, feeling black and fed-up because everybody in the family had gone to the pictures, except me who´d for some reason been left out of it. ´Course, I didn´t know then that I would see something you can never see in the same way on the pictures, a real bloke stringing himself up. I was only a kid at the time, so you can imagine how much I enjoyed it.
I´ve never known a familiy to look as black as our family when they´re fed-up. I´ve seen the old man with his face so dark and full of murder because he ain´t got no fags or was having to use saccarine to sweeten his tea, or even for nothing at all, that I´ve backed out of the house in case he got up from his fireside chair and came for me. He just sits, almost on top of the fire, his oil-stained Sunday-joint maulers opened out in front of him and facing inwards to each other, his thick shoulders scrunched forward, and his dark brown eyes staring into the fire. Now and again he´d say a dirty word, for no reason at all, the worst word you can think of, and when he starts saying this you know it´s time to clear out. If mam`s in it gets worse than ever, because she says sharp to him: "What are yo´looking so bleddy black for?" as if it might be because of something she´s done, and before you know what´s happening he´s tipped up a tableful of pots and mam´s gone out of the house crying. Dad hunches back over the fire an goes on swearing. All because of a packet of fags.
I once saw him broodier than I´d ever seen him, so that I thought he´d gone crackers in a quiet sort of way - until a fly flew to within a yard of him. Then his hand shot out, got it, slung it crippled into the roaring fire. After that he cheered up a bit and mashed some tea."

(Alan Sillitoe: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, 1959)

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