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City Of Glass - New York Trilogy #1, City of Glass - CD 02 parte II (3)

City of Glass - CD 02 parte II (3)

8

The next morning, and for many mornings to follow, Quinn posted himself on a bench in the middle of the traffic island at Broadway and 99th Street. He would arrive early, never later than seven o'clock, and sit there with a take-out coffee, a buttered roll, and an open newspaper on his lap, watching the glass door of the hotel. By eight o'clock Stillman would come out, always in his long brown overcoat, carrying a large, old-fashioned carpet bag. For two weeks this routine did not vary. The old man would wander through the streets of the neighborhood, advancing slowly, sometimes by the merest of increments, pausing, moving on again, pausing once more, as though each step had to be weighed and measured before it could take its place among the sum total of steps. Moving in this manner was difficult for Quinn. He was used to walking briskly, and all this starting and stopping and shuffling began to be a strain, as though the rhythm of his body was being disrupted. He was the hare in pursuit of the tortoise, and again and again he had to remind himself to hold back.

What Stillman did on these walks remained something of a mystery to Quinn. He could, of course, see with his own eyes what happened, and all these things he dutifully recorded in his red notebook. But the meaning of these things continued to elude him. Stillman never seemed to be going anywhere in particular, nor did he seem to know where he was. And yet, as if by conscious design, he kept to a narrowly circumscribed area, bounded on the north by 110th Street, on the south by 72nd Street, on the west by Riverside Park, and on the east by Amsterdam Avenue. No matter how haphazard his journeys seemed to be—and each day his itinerary was different—Stillman never crossed these borders. Such precision baffled Quinn, for in all other respects Stillman seemed to be aimless.

As he walked, Stillman did not look up. His eyes were permanently fixed on the pavement, as though he were searching for something. Indeed, every now and then he would stoop down, pick some object off the ground, and examine it closely, turning it over and over in his hand. It made Quinn think of an archeologist inspecting a shard at some prehistoric ruin. Occasionally, after poring over an object in this way, Stillman would toss it back onto the sidewalk. But more often than not he would open his bag and lay the object gently inside it. Then, reaching into one of his coat pockets, he would remove a red notebook—similar to Quinn's but smaller—and write in it with great concentration for a minute or two. Having completed this operation, he would return the notebook to his pocket, pick up his bag, and continue on his way.

As far as Quinn could tell, the objects Stillman collected were valueless. They seemed to be no more than broken things, discarded things, stray bits of junk. Over the days that passed, Quinn noted a collapsible umbrella shorn of its material, the severed head of a rubber doll, a black glove, the bottom of a shattered light bulb, several pieces of printed matter (soggy magazines, shredded newspapers), a torn photograph, anonymous machinery parts, and sundry other clumps of flotsam he could not identify. The fact that Stillman took this scavenging seriously intrigued Quinn, but he could do no more than observe, write down what he saw in the red notebook, hover stupidly on the surface of things. At the same time, it pleased him to know that Stillman also had a red notebook, as if this formed a secret link between them. Quinn suspected that Stillman's red notebook contained answers to the questions that had been accumulating in his mind, and he began to plot various stratagems for stealing it from the old man. But the time had not yet come for such a step.

Other than picking up objects from the street, Stillman seemed to do nothing. Every now and then he would stop somewhere for a meal. Occasionally he would bump into someone and mumble an apology. Once a car nearly ran him over as he was crossing the street. Stillman did not talk to anyone, did not go into any stores, did not smile. He seemed neither happy nor sad. Twice, when his scavenging haul had been unusually large, he returned to the hotel in the middle of the day and then reemerged a few minutes later with an empty bag. On most days he spent at least several hours in Riverside Park, walking methodically along the macadam footpaths or else thrashing through the bushes with a stick. His quest for objects did not abate amidst the greenery. Stones, leaves, and twigs all found their way into his bag. Once, Quinn observed, he even stooped down for a dried dog turd, sniffed it carefully, and kept it. It was in the park, too, that Stillman rested. In the afternoon, often following his lunch, he would sit on a bench and gaze out across the Hudson. Once, on a particularly warm day, Quinn saw him sprawled out on the grass asleep. When darkness came, Stillman would eat dinner at the Apollo Coffee Shop on 97th Street and Broadway and then return to his hotel for the night. Not once did he try to contact his son. This was confirmed by Virginia Stillman, whom Quinn called each night after returning home.

The essential thing was to stay involved. Little by little, Quinn began to feel cut off from his original intentions, and he wondered now if he had not embarked on a meaningless project. It was possible, of course, that Stillman was merely biding his time, lulling the world into lethargy before striking. But that would assume he was aware of being watched, and Quinn felt that was unlikely. He had done his job well so far, keeping at a discreet distance from the old man, blending into the traffic of the street, neither calling attention to himself nor taking drastic measures to keep himself hidden. On the other hand, it was possible that Stillman had known all along that he would be watched—had even known it in advance—and therefore had not taken the trouble to discover who the particular watcher was. If being followed was a certainty, what did it matter? A watcher, once discovered, could always be replaced by another.

This view of the situation comforted Quinn, and he decided to believe in it, even though he had no grounds for belief. Either Stillman knew what he was doing or he didn't. And if he didn't, then Quinn was going nowhere, was wasting his time. How much better it was to believe that all his steps were actually to some purpose. If this interpretation required knowledge on Stillman's part, then Quinn would accept this knowledge as an article of faith, at least for the time being.



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City of Glass - CD 02 parte II (3)

8

The next morning, and for many mornings to follow, Quinn posted himself on a bench in the middle of the traffic island at Broadway and 99th Street. A la mañana siguiente, y durante muchas mañanas siguientes, Quinn se colocó en un banco en medio de la isla de tráfico en Broadway y la calle 99. He would arrive early, never later than seven o'clock, and sit there with a take-out coffee, a buttered roll, and an open newspaper on his lap, watching the glass door of the hotel. Llegaba temprano, nunca más tarde de las siete, y se sentaba allí con un café para llevar, un panecillo con mantequilla y un periódico abierto en el regazo, mirando la puerta de cristal del hotel. By eight o'clock Stillman would come out, always in his long brown overcoat, carrying a large, old-fashioned carpet bag. A las ocho de la mañana salía Stillman, siempre con su largo abrigo marrón y una bolsa grande y anticuada. For two weeks this routine did not vary. Durante dos semanas esta rutina no varió. The old man would wander through the streets of the neighborhood, advancing slowly, sometimes by the merest of increments, pausing, moving on again, pausing once more, as though each step had to be weighed and measured before it could take its place among the sum total of steps. El anciano deambulaba por las calles del barrio, avanzando lentamente, a veces por meros incrementos, deteniéndose, avanzando de nuevo, deteniéndose una vez más, como si cada paso tuviera que ser pesado y medido antes de que pudiera tomar su lugar entre la multitud. suma total de pasos. Moving in this manner was difficult for Quinn. Moverse de esta manera era difícil para Quinn. He was used to walking briskly, and all this starting and stopping and shuffling began to be a strain, as though the rhythm of his body was being disrupted. Estaba acostumbrado a caminar deprisa, y todo ese ir y venir y arrastrar los pies empezó a ser una tensión, como si el ritmo de su cuerpo se interrumpiera. He was the hare in pursuit of the tortoise, and again and again he had to remind himself to hold back. Era la liebre persiguiendo a la tortuga, y una y otra vez tuvo que recordarse a sí mismo que debía contenerse.

What Stillman did on these walks remained something of a mystery to Quinn. Lo que Stillman hacía en estos paseos seguía siendo un misterio para Quinn. He could, of course, see with his own eyes what happened, and all these things he dutifully recorded in his red notebook. Podía, por supuesto, ver con sus propios ojos lo que sucedió, y todas estas cosas las anotó obedientemente en su cuaderno rojo. But the meaning of these things continued to elude him. Pero el significado de estas cosas continuaba eludiéndolo. Stillman never seemed to be going anywhere in particular, nor did he seem to know where he was. Stillman nunca parecía ir a ningún lugar en particular, ni parecía saber dónde estaba. And yet, as if by conscious design, he kept to a narrowly circumscribed area, bounded on the north by 110th Street, on the south by 72nd Street, on the west by Riverside Park, and on the east by Amsterdam Avenue. Y, sin embargo, como si hubiera sido consciente de ello, se mantuvo en un área estrechamente delimitada, delimitada al norte por la calle 110, al sur por la calle 72, al oeste por Riverside Park y al este por Amsterdam Avenue. No matter how haphazard his journeys seemed to be—and each day his itinerary was different—Stillman never crossed these borders. Por azarosos que parecieran sus viajes, y cada día su itinerario era diferente, Stillman nunca cruzó estas fronteras. Such precision baffled Quinn, for in all other respects Stillman seemed to be aimless. Tal precisión desconcertó a Quinn, porque en todos los demás aspectos Stillman parecía no tener rumbo.

As he walked, Stillman did not look up. Mientras caminaba, Stillman no levantó la vista. His eyes were permanently fixed on the pavement, as though he were searching for something. Sus ojos estaban fijos permanentemente en el pavimento, como si estuviera buscando algo. Indeed, every now and then he would stoop down, pick some object off the ground, and examine it closely, turning it over and over in his hand. De hecho, de vez en cuando se agachaba, tomaba algún objeto del suelo y lo examinaba de cerca, dándole vueltas y vueltas en la mano. It made Quinn think of an archeologist inspecting a shard at some prehistoric ruin. A Quinn se le ocurrió pensar en un arqueólogo inspeccionando un fragmento en alguna ruina prehistórica. Occasionally, after poring over an object in this way, Stillman would toss it back onto the sidewalk. De vez en cuando, después de estudiar detenidamente un objeto de esta manera, Stillman lo arrojaba de nuevo a la acera. But more often than not he would open his bag and lay the object gently inside it. Pero la mayoría de las veces abría su bolsa y depositaba suavemente el objeto dentro. Then, reaching into one of his coat pockets, he would remove a red notebook—similar to Quinn's but smaller—and write in it with great concentration for a minute or two. Luego, metiendo la mano en uno de los bolsillos de su abrigo, sacaba un cuaderno rojo —similar al de Quinn pero más pequeño— y escribía en él con gran concentración durante uno o dos minutos. Having completed this operation, he would return the notebook to his pocket, pick up his bag, and continue on his way. Habiendo completado esta operación, devolvería el cuaderno a su bolsillo, recogería su bolso y continuaría su camino.

As far as Quinn could tell, the objects Stillman collected were valueless. Por lo que Quinn podía decir, los objetos que recolectó Stillman no tenían valor. They seemed to be no more than broken things, discarded things, stray bits of junk. Parecían no ser más que cosas rotas, cosas desechadas, pedazos de basura perdidos. Over the days that passed, Quinn noted a collapsible umbrella shorn of its material, the severed head of a rubber doll, a black glove, the bottom of a shattered light bulb, several pieces of printed matter (soggy magazines, shredded newspapers), a torn photograph, anonymous machinery parts, and sundry other clumps of flotsam he could not identify. Durante los días que pasaron, Quinn notó un paraguas plegable despojado de su material, la cabeza cortada de una muñeca de goma, un guante negro, la parte inferior de una bombilla rota, varias piezas de material impreso (revistas empapadas, periódicos triturados), un fotografía desgarrada, piezas de maquinaria anónimas y varios otros grupos de restos flotantes que no pudo identificar. The fact that Stillman took this scavenging seriously intrigued Quinn, but he could do no more than observe, write down what he saw in the red notebook, hover stupidly on the surface of things. El hecho de que Stillman se tomara en serio esta búsqueda intrigó a Quinn, pero no pudo hacer más que observar, escribir lo que vio en el cuaderno rojo, flotar estúpidamente sobre la superficie de las cosas. At the same time, it pleased him to know that Stillman also had a red notebook, as if this formed a secret link between them. Al mismo tiempo, le agradó saber que Stillman también tenía un cuaderno rojo, como si esto formara un vínculo secreto entre ellos. Quinn suspected that Stillman's red notebook contained answers to the questions that had been accumulating in his mind, and he began to plot various stratagems for stealing it from the old man. Quinn sospechó que el cuaderno rojo de Stillman contenía respuestas a las preguntas que se habían estado acumulando en su mente, y comenzó a tramar varias estratagemas para robárselo al anciano. But the time had not yet come for such a step. Pero aún no había llegado el momento de dar ese paso.

Other than picking up objects from the street, Stillman seemed to do nothing. Aparte de recoger objetos de la calle, Stillman parecía no hacer nada. Every now and then he would stop somewhere for a meal. De vez en cuando se detenía en algún lugar para comer. Occasionally he would bump into someone and mumble an apology. De vez en cuando chocaba con alguien y murmuraba una disculpa. Once a car nearly ran him over as he was crossing the street. Una vez, un automóvil casi lo atropella cuando cruzaba la calle. Stillman did not talk to anyone, did not go into any stores, did not smile. Stillman no habló con nadie, no entró en ninguna tienda, no sonrió. He seemed neither happy nor sad. No parecía ni feliz ni triste. Twice, when his scavenging haul had been unusually large, he returned to the hotel in the middle of the day and then reemerged a few minutes later with an empty bag. Dos veces, cuando su botín de búsqueda había sido inusualmente grande, regresó al hotel a la mitad del día y luego reapareció unos minutos más tarde con una bolsa vacía. On most days he spent at least several hours in Riverside Park, walking methodically along the macadam footpaths or else thrashing through the bushes with a stick. La mayoría de los días pasaba al menos varias horas en Riverside Park, caminando metódicamente por los senderos de macadán o abriéndose camino entre los arbustos con un palo. His quest for objects did not abate amidst the greenery. Su búsqueda de objetos no disminuyó en medio de la vegetación. Stones, leaves, and twigs all found their way into his bag. Piedras, hojas y ramitas se abrieron camino hasta su bolsa. Once, Quinn observed, he even stooped down for a dried dog turd, sniffed it carefully, and kept it. En una ocasión, observó Quinn, incluso se agachó para recoger un excremento de perro seco, lo olió con cuidado y se lo quedó. It was in the park, too, that Stillman rested. También fue en el parque donde Stillman descansó. In the afternoon, often following his lunch, he would sit on a bench and gaze out across the Hudson. Por la tarde, a menudo después de su almuerzo, se sentaba en un banco y contemplaba el Hudson. Once, on a particularly warm day, Quinn saw him sprawled out on the grass asleep. Una vez, en un día particularmente caluroso, Quinn lo vio dormido tirado en la hierba. When darkness came, Stillman would eat dinner at the Apollo Coffee Shop on 97th Street and Broadway and then return to his hotel for the night. Cuando llegaba la oscuridad, Stillman cenaba en el Apollo Coffee Shop en 97th Street y Broadway y luego regresaba a su hotel para pasar la noche. Not once did he try to contact his son. Ni una sola vez intentó ponerse en contacto con su hijo. This was confirmed by Virginia Stillman, whom Quinn called each night after returning home. Esto fue confirmado por Virginia Stillman, a quien Quinn llamaba cada noche después de regresar a casa.

The essential thing was to stay involved. Lo esencial era mantenerse involucrado. Little by little, Quinn began to feel cut off from his original intentions, and he wondered now if he had not embarked on a meaningless project. Poco a poco, Quinn comenzó a sentirse separado de sus intenciones originales y ahora se preguntaba si no se había embarcado en un proyecto sin sentido. It was possible, of course, that Stillman was merely biding his time, lulling the world into lethargy before striking. Era posible, por supuesto, que Stillman simplemente estuviera esperando su momento, adormeciendo al mundo antes de atacar. But that would assume he was aware of being watched, and Quinn felt that was unlikely. Pero eso supondría que era consciente de que lo estaban observando, y Quinn pensó que eso era poco probable. He had done his job well so far, keeping at a discreet distance from the old man, blending into the traffic of the street, neither calling attention to himself nor taking drastic measures to keep himself hidden. Había hecho bien su trabajo hasta el momento, manteniéndose a una distancia discreta del anciano, mezclándose con el tráfico de la calle, sin llamar la atención ni tomar medidas drásticas para ocultarse. On the other hand, it was possible that Stillman had known all along that he would be watched—had even known it in advance—and therefore had not taken the trouble to discover who the particular watcher was. Por otro lado, era posible que Stillman hubiera sabido todo el tiempo que lo vigilarían, incluso lo había sabido de antemano, y por lo tanto no se había tomado la molestia de descubrir quién era el vigilante en particular. If being followed was a certainty, what did it matter? Si ser seguido era una certeza, ¿qué importaba? A watcher, once discovered, could always be replaced by another. Un observador, una vez descubierto, siempre podía ser reemplazado por otro.

This view of the situation comforted Quinn, and he decided to believe in it, even though he had no grounds for belief. Either Stillman knew what he was doing or he didn't. O Stillman sabía lo que estaba haciendo o no. And if he didn't, then Quinn was going nowhere, was wasting his time. Y si no lo hacía, entonces Quinn no iría a ninguna parte, estaría perdiendo el tiempo. How much better it was to believe that all his steps were actually to some purpose. Cuánto mejor era creer que todos sus pasos tenían algún propósito. If this interpretation required knowledge on Stillman's part, then Quinn would accept this knowledge as an article of faith, at least for the time being. Si esta interpretación requería conocimiento por parte de Stillman, entonces Quinn aceptaría este conocimiento como un artículo de fe, al menos por el momento.

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