I’m sitting on the old balcony, underneath the honeysuckle I planted a couple of months ago. The heavy fragrance is in my nostrils. I’ve moved since last time I wrote here, back to my hometown. No one could be more surprised than I. Like a really slow migrating bird I was away for a while, for ten, twelve, thirteen years or so, in other cities like Uppsala, the place of Sweden’s oldest university and Damascus, one of the world’s oldest cities, now famous for the entirely wrong reasons, and then Beirut (for a while) and Kathmandu (albeit for a short time) and lastly Örebro (for a couple of years). Enough time to think that other places were my destiny. I never thought I would go back. But here I am. In a cheap apartment built in the fifties, freezing in the winter, melting hot in the summer, sitting on a balcony facing the local hospital’s emergency unit on the other side of the road. Perfect for growing flowers in. But the sky is sweet and blue here too, especially when it only reluctantly goes down, as it does in Scandinavia during the summer.
And it’s half past eleven in the evening now. All the dog walkers have gone in. The sky speaks of tomorrow in thin grey clouds low on the horizon. Everything still, traffic a couple of blocks away. A woman just passed on her bike with shopping bags hanging from the handles, shoulder length hair moving so slightly in the wind. I can hear my neighbor coughing from the other side of the partition, and the sound of cutlery on a plate. She keeps the door to her balcony open at all times, summer or winter, day and night. I wonder if she pretends not to know that I’m here, just like I do? It’s not avoidance per se, more like an act to let the other believe she has privacy.
I wasn’t invited to this platform, I stumbled over it by mere happenstance. I’m a bureaucrat under cover after all, not a creative. But due to this coincidence, this happy little accident (as Bob Ross might put it) I wrote and pondered and drew and connected to many interesting, good people that I hope to somehow keep track of. You see, I don’t care about eternity. I don’t care about which words will reach tomorrow or if they will be written in stone. Life is ephemeral by definition. The ability to connect to someone, or move someone by what you say, write, picture or paint is a priceless and momentary thing, not a given. What do I care how my words might resound by tomorrow? Since all we really have is today?
One could even argue that this ephemerality is the basic notion of this platform, as it’s constituted by “moments”. When you’re revisiting moments, they’re really memories and nothing else. But for those memories, thank you.
A last sketch
Can you hear it?
From this place
Times like these