The projector ventilator hums. Herr N. holds the remote control in his hand and adjusts his glasses with his forefinger. Another slide appears in the darkened living room on the projection screen.
Us. That’s us, he thinks. Suddenly he sees himself and his wife as they used to be. How long ago is that? Me as a young man and R. next to me. When was that exactly? He gets up, goes into the kitchen and drinks something. When he comes back into the living room, he looks at his bygone face. His gaze meets the gaze of another I from his past. When was that, the question echoes emptily inside him.
A moment in his life with R. Not everything has been really important in his life. Not today, not then. Not everything has been fulfilled. He hasn’t wished for any great things. Before a holiday, that could be it, he thinks. In the ‘80s. Did we have a sofa like that in out flat? Life disappears into the incidental. Into before and after. Into scheduled slots. Before the holiday, yes that’s how it was, he thinks. R. was sewing something, changing something for the holiday. A blouse, a skirt? Her and me. Me. Her. Her skin went dark brown so quickly. Almost olive brown. Even when she stayed in the shade.
Mr N. presses the forwards button on the remote control. White light illuminates the living room. Mr N. checks the order of the slides and realises that there are some spaces. Shuffles around some of the slide frames. Her smell. The scent of her brown skin. For a second, he can taste it. He swallows, dry-mouthed. The slide projector hums. The slide frames slot into the plastic holder of the slide rail. A clicking, monotonous sound.