As we sit in a cavernous conference room talking, listening and yawning, I am caught in compulsive mind game. I see the faces of the people around me the way they looked when they were children. A serious girl to my right, who read a lot of books and didn't like to go out with friends; a haughty boy to my left, brows knit, arguing with his teacher. Then I see them grow up until like me they find their way into this room and now they sit and argue, boys and girls and the grown-ups they've become, the entirety of their lives compressed into the present moment, the past joined with now. From this perspective it becomes hard to take the proceedings seriously. I lose the thread of the discussion. That doesn't bother me much: there is no Ariadne at its end.
Later I walk alone through dark cobblestone streets. They are deserted and quiet. I feel so happy that I stop and spin around, and stand and listen to nothing just to stretch out the moment. Here's a bookshop with antique maps on display. It, too, is dark and quiet, books sleeping on their shelves until opening time.
On the plane home, I read with my good eye and sip white wine from a clear plastic cup. At one point, the cup comes between the page and my bad eye. Suddenly the blurry lines snap into amber, wavering focus.
For a while, I read my book through the wine lens and smile.