Nasko H. awoke in the clear April of parting, bumped into the thought of a woman at whom knives were flying, staggered, and suddenly realised he had forgotten how to forget. In the months to come, the house atop the high stone hill filled with memories which he kept bumping into with remarkable perseverance.
First, he was surprised to find, on the shelf where he kept his shaving implements, two bits of round white wool from the poplar tree beneath which, years ago, he had haltingly read love, dead scared that someone might discover that he had read that book all the way to its sudden and vacant conclusion. Then, a flock of starlings took residence in the vine and he spent the summer of his invulnerability with them, feeding them nothing but the salt of his tears. Day after day, Nasko H. would discover things and memories suddenly appearing around the house: a small table with a drawer for journeys, a ticket from a Casablanca museum, tobacco dust that he had failed to smoke amid a flash storm in the Dodecanese Islands...
At the beginning, Nasko H. would put these things in the empty guest room, but after three months the memories amassed, first filling the drawing room and then the workshop, before creeping under his bed, and finally rendering even the massive dresser unable to have its creaky drawers properly closed because of them. Nasko H. dared not blink for entire nights lest a forgotten instant or item flew into his dreams, but even this was no use.
Then the parcels began arriving by post. People who had melted in his consciousness would send him a forgotten gesture of mercy, a pen solely intended for writing one’s first name, or the sleep talk of children expecting their fathers... It was not long before the line of postmen carrying parcels, wrapped in multicoloured paper and plastered in stamps from all over the world, up the high stony hill began to look like a flock of cranes migrating to their homeland. Nasko H. had long stopped bothering to cut the string of the packaged memories that filled his house, the garden, and the hill beyond.
He was not particularly surprised when the first people began arriving. Some, like the Mapuche man, stretched hammocks under the vine in the garden. Others knocked timber shacks together. In the deep October nights, Nasko H. observed a new city emerging at the foot of the hill. The last tribe to settle was one he discovered while on an expedition along the Amazon; they brought with them seven stone hills that now filled Nasko H.’s view.