A Beautiful Scene

Posted on: March 3, 2016

Friday, December 18th, 11AM:
Arrived last night and went straight to bed. I’ll never get used to flying. I don’t know how people do it on a regular basis. I skipped dinner, but wasn’t hungry, anyway. The conference doesn’t start until tomorrow, so I have a full day to wander around the city. I would be showered and dressed and all ready to go but I’ve been transfixed by the view from my window. It’s nothing out of the ordinary – just a couple of buildings - but it’s started to rain. I never get these kinds of views back home, and rarely does it rain.

4:20 PM:
Went out for a few hours, had some lunch and coffee and wandered around a bit, then came back to the hotel and took a nap. It’s still raining. I wonder what’s going on behind each one of those square portals across the street. I wonder if whoever’s behind them is thinking the same thing. I doubt it. They probably have better things to do.

11:10 PM:
They follow me wherever I go. They’re in the windows and storefronts and bathroom mirrors. It’s hard to come to a city like this and not be reminded. I might as well be back from where I came – the ghosts would be the same, but without the context, without the frame, without the ambience - and it’s aesthetics I’m most concerned with. Or at least that’s what I’ve always told myself. I fear that it will be like this every time – in every city – in every room.

Saturday, December 19th, 7:12 PM:
The conference was a fucking bore. Not that I expected it not to be. At least they paid for my accommodations and airfare. I’m back in my room. If I could smoke in here, I’d never leave.

9:40 PM:
It rained then too, but not heavily, not like this. The buildings are similar. I suppose buildings are similar in most big cities. And the greyness is the same greyness I recall while walking along those busy streets two and three years ago. But there’s something missing from this scene, some vacancy that needs to be filled. But it likely won’t be, at least not if I have anything to say about it. But I’m still enjoying the moment, or at least admiring it. I shouldn’t think too much.

Sunday, December 20th, 11:08 AM:
I’ve tried filling these past couple of days with moments I could maybe reflect upon in a year or two or ten and recall vividly and with some sense of fondness, but I don’t think that has happened. Last night at the bar, there was someone. She was sitting directly across from me with a drink in her hand. She looked about twenty-five or thirty. Her hair was dark, her skin slightly tan. She looked at me. I looked at her. This continued for some time. At a certain point, her glass became empty. I should have walked over, or at least called for the bartender. Instead, I kept sipping my Rum-and-Coke. Nothing good could have come of it, anyway.

3:34 PM:
I’d like to set up my camera and record what’s playing out so beautifully in front of me, but I didn’t bring the right lens. This means no close-ups of whatever’s going on behind those little square portals. It’s probably not that interesting anyway. It’s likely trivial stuff, similar to what’s not playing out right here in this room. Maybe they’re zooming in on me. Luckily, the rain partially blocks their view – and mine. Wide shots are better, anyway. They show you the whole picture. Wait, what am I saying? I just lied. There’s an entire world outside that frame.

8:08 PM:
I should start packing, but I feel lethargic. There isn’t much to pack anyway. I should just sit here and enjoy my last few hours in this little room in this grey city. It will all come back to me one day and then maybe I’ll appreciate it more. We never fully comprehend these moments when they’re actually happening – only in retrospect. There’s no need to take pictures. No need to press record on my video camera. No need write all of this down. I don’t need any of that to remember. No, I’m just going to sit here and let this scene wash over me. Maybe in a few years, I’ll recall it vividly and with some sense of fondness.

Written by: Jamie Naqvi
Photograph by: Sophie Stuart

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