Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Mutations and Permutations

1

Let's go back to the main issue. One day Isaac came home from work. He put on his best clothes and went out for a stroll. What made Isaac put on his good clothes on a weekday and go out early? If you had asked him, he couldn't have answered. Not every day are a man's actions in his own hands.

As he walks, Sonya comes toward him. Her light shirt flutters over her heart and a new hat is on her head, a girl's hat that gives her face the bloom of a handsome girl. She too went out early, just like Isaac. Even though she didn't have anything to do outside, she was happy she went out, for the day was declining and the time had come to get a breath of fresh air.

Sonya is happy and joyful and the freckles on her face scattered like golden lentils. Her eyes smile at Isaac and on her lips is an accommodating smile that is neither stunned nor amazed to find Isaac.

Isaac asked Sonya, What did Rabinovitch write? Sonya replied, That's just what I wanted to ask you, did he write to you? I haven't gotten a single word from him. Rabinovitch had planned to do great things Outside the Land, and hadn't done any of them. He is ashamed to write the truth, and he doesn't want to lie, so he keeps silent.

Since they came upon one another, they joined one another and went for a stroll. And not just at that time, but whenever they met, they would stroll together.


2

At first their conversation was about their comrade Rabinovitch. Isaac told how he met Rabinovitch, and how Rabinovitch treated him with

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