Saturday, 16 May 2009

It might be an afternoon, but it could be a morning. Regardless, there is no sound, just those drifting white things, moved by still air. Can it really be that quiet? Of course. Isolation is content to bring suspicion to an individual. It likes it this way, it enjoys filling days with a seeping paranoia, replacing would-be social interactions with a set of fantasy relations and imagined encounters. But what if the suspicion is grounded in a reality?

There are doors in this building that never open. The stairwells and entrances echo with the sound of feet at intervals but there is never anyone there, empirical evidence of further presence - of a name, a spoken word, a location - is rarely forthcoming. Never, never, not ever. How can it be in such an area where anecdotally in the bars and streets I hear people talking of how hard it is to find accommodation at the moment. The pinboards in the supermarkets are full of pleading computer printed notices with tear-off telephone numbers. Living place sought. And yet there is no-one here, no one's feet disturbs the little drifts of dust upon the newly painted stairs?

Sure, there are the workmen. They are real enough with their drilling and painting and smoking and laughing. But are they renovating for ghosts? For doors that do not open never close and there appear to be no residents in this building. Not a threshold is crossed - where are the commuters, the families? Who owns the dogs that shit right outside in the courtyard?

Was it not yesterday that I saw a rental van parked up against the entrance, perpendicular to the lines of cars covered in sweet-smelling blossom? Four men and a woman (or was it five men?) lifting boxes onto the pavement, one of them loading everything onto a trolley and attempting to haul it backwards up the stairs. When the boxes fell did I not try and help, and did he not ask me, abruptly, to leave it? What might I have found if I had picked up the box? Would the bottom have fallen through, or would I simply have picked up an hollow cardboard shape, full of air or straw perhaps? Had they not propped both sets of doors leading to the backhouse, where I live, open? The door of the apartment next to mine was also ajar. Surely they are moving in next door?

The nausea of failed isolationism strikes at such a moment. My silence, my perfect mornings and long evenings! Overheard conversations, muffled music, chair scrapes or clatterings of crockery! I am without these and wish to remain so in my hollow, empty house... what invasion is this? Other people!

But I have heard nothing since I saw them. No to-ings or fro-ings, not so much as a raised voice. I pass only dust in the corridors. The wood on the stairs, freshly painted a deep blood red, betrays no mislaid step, its surface perfect and unblemished. The only things that seem to pass through this building are my suspicions and these strange, strange blossoms. Perhaps blossoms is not right, perhaps spores or seeds serves better. They are like dandelions when beaten by wind but with a longevity and cunning unknown. Through closed windows and drawn curtains they silently drift, drawn to the static of fabrics, nestling into the piles of clean washed clothes. So, blossoms and thoughts and silence, broken by nothing, and with that a maintenance of some lonely stasis.

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