The twelve jurors were all writing very busily on slates. ‘What are they doing?’, Alice whispered to the Gryphon. ‘They can’t have anything to put down yet, before the trial’s begun’.
‘They’re putting down their names’, the Gryphon whispered in reply, ‘for fear they should forget them before the end of the trial’.
- Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Gradual changes in rhythm.
He stuck out his hand and offered it to me and asked ‘de donde eres’?
I curse and detach my arm, leaving my hand clasped in his, walking past the mountains of pizza, stacked to the ceiling, past the cheap plastic wine and into the kitchen.
He follows. He repeats his question, smiling. I don’t know, I tell him, finally. No lo sé. I pour out a giant glass of wine and filter it carefully through my belly button. Es más rápido así, y sin sabor, muttering into his ear. No sabes de dónde eres? Imposible!
No, es posible. I begin to dig a tunnel in the wall. ‘Y quanto anos tienes?’, he asks, hopefully.
How many years do you feel you have? Only the important things can go into them, I tell him. If everything was gathered together, how long would it make? He looks me with the eyes of a burning moth. Why do I find it so hard to move past these questions? Why do they bother me so much?
I keep digging.
A girl taps me on the shoulder and asks, in English, what it is that I’m doing. I don’t know the word for digging in Spanish and feel relieved to speak English. I tell her that in this tunnel, anyone who wanted to speak of really very vital things would crawl into here, whisper it or shout it as loud or softly as they wanted to the person they were telling, and then they could leave again.
-But why do you need a tunnel?
Because people feel uncomfortable with important and tender things when out in the open.
People hide behind questions that they don’t care about at parties, don’t they?
- Mmhmm. Why do you react in such a strange way to these questions?
Because it’s not me, you know? I’m not the answers because I don’t care for them.
- Then create another part, another performance. All people want is a way to see how your eyes light up when close to you. To see excitements and the possibilities of happiness. To measure a life. Yeah, it’s all too quick, too defined, maybe even judgemental - but don’t be hard on people who don’t understand these roles. Otherwise…you become hardened in the end.
I gaze at her, shocked.
But don’t you find it hard sometimes to sort through it all, the hoards of useless of information, the dead time, the times when nothing seems to move or grow?
-Yes. Of course. Doesn’t everyone? But instead of your strange, ugly madness why not turn it into something incredibly creative and warm? You could…
-But…why are you using a teaspoon to dig the tunnel?
Photo from Everything Is Illuminated [2005, Liev Schreiber].