Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quality of Light

“Time that is moved along by little wheels and gears is no time at all. And people who are wound with cranks and equipped with springs are no people to speak of.”

It seemed as if my recent past was dominated by scribbling things like the above down, trying to make up for pale memories I had already started to lose. I dressed my words with India ink and my pages were stained from the intentional carelessness of nights with red wine. And from within all those empty nights – those late nights of arriving at your quiet room and knowing (feeling) that all that is there is you – comes some vague notion of what it feels like to be human, privy to aging and regret. Relentless regret, for there is time yet for decisions and indecisions and revisions of each, once. Twice. Thrice.

And so I turn to the people next to me – the girl at the coffee shop with friendly eyes looking over her novel, that boy in that band who spouts drunken philosophy with startling accuracy, the individual with whom I choose to share my (__) – and I say, “Let us go then, you and I. Let’s make a decision without need of revision, to a place where our thoughts touch the sky” And they look at me. And they think about it. Sometimes they come with me. More often they don’t. Most often I remain as well.

I came to Italy to refashion and to rethink. Where we call “home” is just another choice.

Here the stones in the cobbled streets are smooth. As I roam, my eyes cut shapes: ovals and diamonds, ovals and diamonds. I walk new streets every day, sometimes on purpose, most often on accident. The smell of the sky washes me in sticky pastels; slightly fluid and heavy air; a darker spice I cannot yet pinpoint. Light is integral: light warming that space on my back between my shoulder blades while I ride my Florentine bike on a new adventure, while I cook eggs in the kitchen of my new (first) apartment, while I picnic in the piazza. I wake up to light.

Every so often, if I keep the space between my top lashes and bottom lashes miniscule, I swear the colors blur, mixing and befriending one another. My ceiling is white and my blankets are black, so therefore the air must shimmer with grays and silvers. But I never catch them, and by the time my eyes are fully open the colors are set, pretending to not know a thing.

I was scared, once, by the sound of a wine bottle crashing in the road. The glass pieces sparkled unnaturally, reflecting the glow from the streetlamp, and suddenly the sound was worth it.

People here are light. I meet artists and musicians and other mortals with good heads and good ideas that fill them. They could ask my name, but they do not. I could ask their names, but I do not, though I could easily meet them again. But they seem free and undaunted by the way a person can so easily slip in and out of one’s life. So I mimic. I want to be free like them. So I say goodbye and I mean it.

Instead I go home: home is what I am choosing to call this temporary apartment. I will sleep in my small bed and wake up to the light, first on my face, then on my arms, then on the rest of me. By the time my eyes open the walls will be white and the blankets will be black and the air will be whatever color air is. I abandoned the India ink and am in search of permanence. I have come, and I will continue to go (for now, just I). I make decisions, free of revisions. My thoughts surpass the sky.

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