Seconds of Uncertainty

I was sure I’d chosen the best word possible. What did I mean by being sure? I was translating a sentence from Spanish into English. It was a weekly newspaper column that my favorite Spanish author and novelist, Javier Marías, had written around a decade ago, when he and I were living in the same city, Madrid, and I could walk to the street, and to the block, where in one of the flats visible from the sidewalk, I was almost certain he lived. I wasn’t sure. Facts have a subjective nature to me. The adjective, or was it an adverb, that I’d chosen for the translation into English would have to do. No one else would read these translated sentences. Why was I spending time reading and thinking about this sentence in a newspaper column from a decade ago in two languages? I didn’t know why. Why didn’t I finish creating this new sentence in English, translated from Spanish, before asking myself more questions? It could be done in seconds. I wasn’t interested in seconds. I was seeking a mental experience. In what I imagined was less than a second, I realized I was searching in vain for something that would have to find me. Maybe the mental exercise involved in translating a sentence had sought me out. I would never know for sure.

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