Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A man is slowly renovating a small white house with peeling paint. I track the changes as I walk past in the mornings and the evenings. I trick myself into thinking I know The Guy a little from the outside: he is green (a no pulp mill sticker on the car); he cooks (veggies in the rocks, a lemon tree in the corner); he once Did Things Outdoors(kayaks stacked on the side fence, gathering spider webs). I construct a life for him from the bits and pieces that lie around his yard. What an odd and presumptuous thing to do, but I am a curtain-twitcher, a peerer over fences and through the cracks in curtains; I take an interest in the bits of life that are unwittingly available to me; I will grow into a very gossipy old woman.

This morning, I walked past the house half an hour later than usual, after a slow start from a bad night's sleep. The Guy stood at the kitchen window, washing a mug, with no shirt on. I saw his soft white belly. His things are ciphers, something to play with as I walk to the bus but the vulnerability of his flesh and his domesticity shot a shock of intimacy into my solar plexus. In a glimpse of the mundane I recognised The Guy as a person, and I saw that of course, of course, I did not know him at all.

How odd. I will remember that moment when I am 45, when I am 60, when I am 80 - I am sure of it. I will remember it for no good reason, and for some very good reason I will never put words to.

How odd, how odd, how odd.