Monsieur Blanchot and Mr Cummings were waiting for me. M Blanchot was staring out of the hotel window at the lush and green garden and Mr Cummings was reading a magazine behind a puff of smoke. I apologised for my tardiness and took a seat in front of them. M Blanchot nodded, his suit seemed as stiff as his chin, but his smile was friendly. Mr Cummings flashed me a tiny smirk and flicked his cigarette. The corner of his eyes crinkled.
I thanked them for having inspired me to write my theses. I explained to them how much I admired them. They gave no response, but they appeared to be listening. And after some silence Mr Cummings chuckled. M Blanchot cleared his throat.
I politely asked them to begin their conversation together and requested that they pretend that I was not there. And they did just that. Because I was not really there anyway, and they did not see me.
I whipped out my notebook and I listened intently to everything that they were saying among themselves. They were not talking to each other. They were not even in the same room together, as was I. But still I listened, and still I paid attention.
M Blanchot had an angular smooth face with a soft but piercing eyes. He talked to me about his reading on Hegel that he often quoted in his writing. He talked to me about silence, space, author, literature, and death. He talked to me about his friendship with Dionys Mascolo. His admiration of camaraderie.
I looked at Mr Cummings, and for me he was oozing masculinity as much as he was reeking of tobacco. His voice was melodious and he might as well be a swing singer or a newscaster to some extent, maybe. He did not look bathed or washed, and he was probably in his 40s, but he has this irrefutable charm that made me could not stop staring and listening. I scribbled on my notebook, dividing my attention between the two. M Blanchot kept talking without pause, but Mr Cummings liked to light a fresh cigarette between each pause. Mr Cummings’ vocabulary was mesmerizing, like a labyrinth of mind game I would be willing to get myself lost in.
I could listen to them all day long, although sometimes I could not help my mind to wander. But the day was ending soon, and the sky was getting dark, so I packed up my notebook. I sometimes still wonder how these men can manage to inspire me this much. I thanked them. They were there and then they weren’t. But their words resounded inside my notebook and inside my head, and I carry them everywhere with me.