“We ordered three glasses of wine, and drank to the idea.” – Anna Bidder
The window frame cuts out a stunning picture.
The sun fell out of the sky. Stuck in motion, somewhere out of the picture, massive trees cast the overbearing shadows of their lanky bodies upon the red-brick house. If the picture had not stopped them, they would have taken the house down. Look at them, slowly crawling on the green grass towards the doorstep, like languid tongues hissing and slithering. Only one of them made it into the picture, close enough to the house. It does not look threatening; perhaps a little dishevelled. If you look closely enough, you can tell there’s nothing to fear.
Look. Other houses in the background, standing tall, immovable. They rose from the very bosom of nature, from the same roots as the guarding trees, shielding them from the tumult of the outside world.
The breeze will not let the trees rest in peace. The few remaining leaves shiver, hair rising on a soon-to-be bald corpse. They know their fate: they can only be patient. In a few days, in a few hours – this very instant, they are to fall to the ground, turn to brownish mud and disappear. No more haven for that sneaky squirrel, crossing the picture this very moment. Already gone.
It is time for her to make an entrance, walk her way through the picture to the m(a)us(ol)eum of knowledge, somewhere out of the frame. Carefully, she steps onto the lawn, eyes down, treading on imaginary egg shelves. If she is not careful, the women sitting in front of the house will fire shots at her. They will. She looked up once, and she could swear she saw the cannons in their eyes.
In all fairness, who could blame them? Look at her. The grease stain on the oil painting. She won’t look you in the eye, will she? Still hoping she will disappear if she stares intently enough at the crevasses in the walls, she disappears each time they look right through, each time they remind her of the odds. And every time she looks into their eyes, the odds multiply, pulling her further out, one thread away from falling out of the painting. But there is beauty in trying; having made her way through to the library, she held on for life to each word in the book.
As she looked up from the page, the restless picture had changed. A brand-new image was unfolding before her eyes in the train back home. Neither here nor there, both places virtual, she was finally allowed to be herself. No odds to fight, nothing to prove, and so many chances ahead, stretching as far as the green fields multiplying over and over.
I opened my eyes and there I was. Old Christmas light bulbs and a light blue sky; the countdown to something new. The entire world delved into a new era, and I once again found myself in between, neither new nor old. And I realized we stand still on the edge of rebirth everyday, every minute, having to channel billions of ourselves rising from one another, firing up from the dust of our old selves and yet never shedding our own skin.
Bubbles of champagne, the blink of an eye, and back again. Stone cold trees. Everything is standing very still, but the bustle will begin in a few days, students rushing from all around the world, pumping some blood back into the breathless scenery.
As I walk my way back to my mausoleum, it strikes me again. The window frame does cut out a stunning picture. For a second, my billion selves align, past and present in sheer
symbiosis. I see her; she is looking at me. We were there the whole time. Together we look up, and the women are here. No danger ahead. I see them smile, and raise their glass.
She may not be a genius, and she is definitely not a giant, but she belongs in the picture.
Cheers to that.