Columbia, New York. How do you do?
Sounds travel up and down the hall and I catch the words ‘you belong here’…a boy next door reciting the words off the Spectator. I feel watched. I have to acclimatize myself to a culture of open doors - people look and linger, look and walk. Should I extend a cordial invitation at every turn? Sounds travel up and down and for a while I miss the sentiment, grace and vulnerability of the intonations of my mother tongue. The cadence of which has always conveyed a peculiar heartfeltness; the tones rise and dip in thought, rise and dip close to the core. My habitual inflections are now involuntarily half coated beneath a thick, impersonal American vigor.
In the equally harsh daylight we exchange names and faces. I enjoy walking pass people in the dark. I saw people at the grand piano in the lounge by a dim light. Why does intimacy occur without the lights? Why does the darkness convey it? Like Caravaggio’s paintings the consuming darkness wraps subjects in the stuff of the unknown. The familiarized figure is now the subject of mystery, an invitation for discovery…perhaps again. There is a need no more for further enlightenment, we can escape the utilitarian gaze of light and meet, beyond the details - superficial, biographical; meet where we matter.
People walk by for a split second and they shake me. I don’t know how far I am invited, if at all, into the circuit of their lives.