Tuesday, October 4

Lighter

The day increases its beauty at will, when it feels like it, under no duress to excite the onlookers when they wish but when the day itself so wishes. That is why sometimes we are in a hurry when the day is at its most exquisite. We bang our hurrying soles on the pavement and think—‘Not now, I have to get to that meeting in seven minutes, I cannot admire this spectacle!’ Why, only today I was approaching the city of my home county in amongst the packed cattle of the carriage and feeling strangely sad. I was also irritable. The girl opposite me had noticed the book I was reading and was looking at me. As we came into the city I looked out – as I had been, intermittently during the journey – at the scenery: the tops of the building had been turned, dipped in gold and righted again. The invisible line drew across the view and all the tops of each building were glowing in the positive gold of sunlight fading! I was stunned and, hmm, yes, maybe a photograph would do, but no! I must admire it myself, all alone. It was something else, but it reminded me, wholly and instant, of the trees near where I live (so that I checked my watch to see if the times matched – they did). The trees fluttered their leaves; all shimmered. They spiked upwards, spiked upwards the sky and amidst all the traffic and grey grimness of east London they were spectacular exclamation marks in the scenery.
On Saturday I was riding a coach and looking out at the sky as it fizzed with rain. We sped along the motorway on the inside lane. The clouds were pockmarked with sunshine breaking through; turning everything moody purple pink, sadly grey and the bright flowers of gold piercing brooding bulks of rain. It was as though smoke filled the air. I looked down as a car passed. Riding shotgun was a girl and she was pretty to my eyes. I looked at her. She looked at me. We were parallel at seventy-miles-an-hour. We held our gazes and as we held them she smiled at me. She was so pretty that I thought she was mad to smile at me. I smiled back and it broke into a flattered chuckle. She waved at me and I at her. Then she was gone. I will never see her again, but it was all quite terrific, this matter of her and I and the motorway.
After everything – after buying some filters and papers, anyway – I walked back along the street as a large lorry was guided likewise. The windows were open and the man inside the cab had his stereo turned up incredibly loud. It was dancehall music and it thundered. I smiled because I was happy to hear it among the doldrums of the city. As I crossed the road, two girls were walking toward me and they were happy. One of them was dancing to the music as it was her favourite song and the other was laughing, too, and I joined in laughing with them and they said—‘He was laughing at me!’ ‘He was laughing at you!’ We nodded at each other and their eyes sparkled and, briefly, the street was a little lighter.
I am trying to see the levity in life. I am trying and trying. I am trying to write. I am determined to repair and improve. I am dedicated to witnessing the beauty. I strain underneath the weight.

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