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a quick breakfast in a deserted street café, edward hopper sitting vacantly nearby. next door, the train station: he who never arrives, doesn’t need to depart either. the trains are still sleeping in the morning haze.

nevertheless, we depart. in a four-by-four. a silver arrow on dusty dirt roads, ramrod straight, invariably driving towards the wide horizon. alongside lakes, yellow water lilies, bathing cows in half-mourning.

finally the village. mama minza, our breeder of chicken. her gaze is as quiet as her gait. with each step she measures her small world. dignified, regally. mama minza!

biking through a silty riverbed. there are no brakes. might as well. the chicken on the bicycle rack are clucking as if amused and drive by with mama minza. i pant and pedal harder.

in the chicken pen. the rendition of judgement. mama minza points at a white hen, her sons gather around it. indignantly it offers resistance, then falls silent, resigning to its fate. minza edges a big knife, instructing me to hold the chicken in place. the blade is drawn across the soft neck, blood splatters across the brown dust. in my hands the white hen exhales its life with red coughs.

i dream of flesh and blood. also in this dream i am tired.

later, in the hotel. i bake a cake. it’s emily’s birthday. the cook looks on curiously, absent-mindedly quilling a dead chicken. i sacrifice my last toblerone for a chocolate icing. there are no candles, but a solar torch from the market will do. i smile. it’s the most beautiful cake in the world!

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