Shorter works

A man by a window

I wait at the terminal. I can hear the distant sound of train wheels on tracks, threading through the air like the sound of a zip being unfastened, as though, at night, as it is now, the sky on this city is being peeled back to reveal to those interested the deeds of this day. I wonder what they will see, what their eyes will disturb, a thousand people lying motionless in their troubled sleep, their minds reliving the misdeeds of their day, should they have kept quiet as the day seeped away, should they have turned to the man beside them and said, “Look out, we are all wasting it; another day is slipping away and look at what we’re doing here, just look!” or should they have paused their steps along the pavement on their way home and pointed out that it was almost evening, said to all around them, “Look, we have used it up; it’s now getting dark and the Earth has spun once more; look everyone, we are using up this precious time, the Earth is spinning, who knows for how much longer and we are all here, treading the pavements, breathing this air, sipping the water; how much longer can this go on!—look at us, everyone, stop and look, just look for one minute” or was it okay to keep quite, was it okay to carry on just as we always do, using up yet one more day? How many more are left, the sleeping bodies wonder as they turn in their beds, unconscious, wondering, for their waking minds will not spare a thought for this, wondering how much of that precious time they have squandered today.

And the train carries on, zipping through the night, unseen but heard, perhaps only by me as I stand by my window looking for that single star that I thought I could see out of the corner of my eye, the only part of my eye that was able to detect it. For I cannot see it, that distant star, not with my normal eye, my normal ‘looking’. No, I do not have eyes for stars. At least, not normally. But tonight is different. Tonight I have taken the time to stop and look and listen.

And now the days are getting longer; I have too much energy, I find. It seems like an imposition. In Winter, the days seem shorter and my energy runs out in good time, but now I have too much. I have the time to stand at my darkened window and look for things, or hear things, things that are perhaps not supposed to be seen. For how could this be intended? If it were intended, then those one thousand bodies would also be standing here and looking and they would hear that train’s wheels unzipping this opening in the dark sky—to reveal, to reveal—who knows what.

If this were intended, who knows what we would all see. Perhaps silence and undoing would be invented time and time again. For perhaps we are not supposed to speak, nor do things, not really. Perhaps.

Perhaps this has all been a mistake.

But nobody will ever have the time to discover this.

So, our mistake will continue, and the days will be used up and we shall all sleep at night, troubled by something, but no-one will ever know quite what it is that troubles our one thousand sleeping bodies.

16 April 2010