“For years now I’ve been watching out for you to come with this question! Do you think I’m concerned about anything else? Do you think I read the newspapers? There!” and he threw a newspaper page which had somehow been carried into the bed right at George—an old newspaper, the name of which was completely unknown to George.
“ How long you’ve waited before reaching maturity! Your mother had to die. She could not experience the joyous day. Your friend is deteriorating in his Russia—three years ago he was already yellow enough to be thrown away, and, as for me, well, you see how things are with me. You’ve got eyes for that!”
“So you’ve been lying in wait for me,” cried George.
In a pitying tone, his father said as an afterthought, “Presumably you wanted to say that earlier. But now it’s totally irrelevant.”
And in a louder voice : « So now you know what there was in the world outside of yourself. Up to this point you’ve known only about yourself! Essentially you’ve been an innocent child, but even more essentially you’ve been a devilish human being! And therefore understand this: I sentence you now to death by drowning! ”
George felt himself hounded from the room. The crash with which his father fell onto the bed behind him he still carried in his ears as he left. On the staircase, where he raced down the steps as if it were an inclined plane, he surprised his cleaning woman, who was intending to tidy the apartment after the night before.
“Jesus!” she cried and hid her face in her apron. But he was already past her. He leapt out the front door, driven across the roadway to the water. He was already clutching the railings the way a starving man grasps his food. He swung himself over, like the outstanding gymnast he had been in his youth, to his parents’ pride. He was still holding on, his grip weakening, when between the railings he caught sight of a motor coach which would easily drown out the noise of his fall. He called out quietly, “Dear parents, I have always loved you nonetheless” and let himself drop.
At that moment an almost unending stream of traffic was going over the bridge.