An inconsequential man
December 6, 2003
It was autumn. I could hear her voice. It sounded so far away. I could not guess
where it was coming. I saw a tall wall and a line of trees. They were all naked
with no leaves. It was so violently windy that I had to run behind one of them
for protection. The yellow leaves of the unfamiliar trees were on the ground.
My mouth was dry; I was searching for a water tap
in the park. The sky was full of clouds. I wished it were not
so because I was afraid of the rain which always
brought bad memories. I had had enough.
My hands looked yellow, and my fingernails were
very long. I was neglecting myself. I did not bother to cut my
nails or even wash my hands.
I recall telling myself , "What for? Who
would care if I'm alive
In that corner of that busy street I was watching
well-dressed people in cafes and restaurants. Some of them were
laughing, others were arguing,
and a few
just stared at each other. It was so strange to look inside of those
I remember I saw this woman with lots of lipstick.
She was fiercely arguing with a man. I guess he was her partner.
I also noticed a table in the
middle of the
café where there were other men and women. They were kissing
without looking at each other. I thought they were making a movie.
They looked like
in American films.
The faces were serine. They all wore clean clothes.
I was embarrassed of the shape I was in and my disheveled hair.
I had not had a wash
for a long
I guessed most people there were locals. I was surprised that they
did not smile. On that particular day, I sensed as if all of those
made them look glamorous.
My thinking patterns did not help. I thought perhaps
the best way to test the new places was to study them intuitively
be in the crowd and observe.
I still remember the sensational smell of men's
after-shave. I used to pretend that I wore some too. This gave
me the illusion that I was somewhat
one of them. I also hoped that beautiful women would be attracted
to me, but in reality
I knew I was dreaming. The sky was limpid, and I could not bear
it. I needed inspiration to go on, I wanted to think logically.
In the midst of all this, as strangely as it was,
the voice of a kind woman gave me such strength. But her voice
was too far away
to be accessible.
I imagined the blueness of the sky behind the black cloud. I kept
in my mind.
I did not want the rain. I hoped the clouds would go away.
Now that I think about it, I realize how simplistic
my thoughts must have been. What could I do? The world I knew
was so confusing.
formless, just like the poetry I used to read. I have been thinking
about how ancient people,
who did not have the luxury of cafés, dealt with their formless
thoughts. What was their experience of thinking? Did they discuss
the nature of the words
they spoke? Of course, I did not want to think of Plato who always
talked about form and disliked poetry.
I did not expect an answer. Who was I to hope
for one? Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard that I did
not have the right to
were motionless. I was in this empty space. I was all
alone, and I could see two different worlds in my mind: the ancient
modern. Both were
gliding in their own time and space. I wondered where I belonged
asymmetry? I had this immense desire to know them both. Even though
I was awake and walking,
I allowed myself to enter a dream, which belonged to far away times
as to the present.
The rain had begun, and I was walking under it.
My clothes were all wet, and I hated it. I felt like a fool as
I trod stupidly
streets without any
objective. Life was sterile, and I was in it. I was taken from
there without any consequence. I was irrelevant, a man without
any result. I did
not even have the words to tell my story, a mute observer of others' and
my own tragicomic existence.
A gentle breeze caressed my face. I felt happy;
felt like the rain was going to stop. That was the greatest single
moment of the day.
That was the positive distraction I wanted.
It was at this moment
that I felt the world in which I was living was totally closed
to me. The tall wall in front of me was the
to think of
the past. The ancient buildings, which were staring at me,
reminded me of my ignorance
of city's history. They forced me to admit to this ignorance.
I remember embarrassingly saying "Look, I'm sorry I don't know
you." Of course, the city did not answer back. Do you think
I'm a fool to say it did? I might have been insignificant but
did not mean I had
totally lost grasp of reality.
I heard the woman's voice: "I love you." I wanted
her to be right next to me. It was very important to find out
who she was, but she
not there in the flesh, and I simply gave up. What was the point
of agonizing over something that was not there? The eternal city
was dragging me everywhere.
That was enough. I gave in to its will for I felt I had no other
In my life's peculiar pace I kept as resilient
as I could. I passed by things, and whether they were significant
or not, it
did not matter. I saw
objects around me and in a slow manner I took endless mental
pictures in order to keep
my mind occupied.
I also hoped I was going to be lucky and language
would permit me to express myself with words better than writing
with my fragmentary nature of telling things. I think nurturing
these thoughts slowly helped me to go on. The rain stopped, the
cold; I did not
have much to do except wonder. It helped me enormously. It kept
As I was wandering I saw a huge old building covered
with huge construction scaffolds. As I watched it I suddenly
had a thought
myself if I could stay
the night in there. Nobody was there to force me out. I stood in
front of it for a few minutes, but then I changed my mind. I continued
Of course I was annoyed by the circumstances in
which I found myself. There were some unique moments when I believed
I was going to have
a better day.
used to elate me; it kept me going on during nights, and then as
soon as the sun would rise I would again find the force of the
that I had to meet a world that was full of people who were largely
entangled in themselves.
Their lives were predictable. Despite all the negative things around
me I was resigned to the fact that life was beautiful, and I did
was not generous to me.
I did not know what all these things meant for
an insignificant person like me. I wondered if others who looked
like me thought
way as I did.
believe that they were misunderstood too? I had these thoughts
in order to distract myself from the predicament in which I found
It had been a long time since I ceased to think
about those things, but somewhere in some part of my mind dormant
thoughts were still
nesting, and from time
to time they accidentally presented themselves, to remind me of
were like sparks, and when they arrived, they were very demanding,
me to remember.
That night in the middle of all those events and
emotions, I also saw a beautiful and extremely elegant woman
who was wearing a red
sat on a brand
new Vespa motorbike. Next to her was a meticulously clean white
dog. Surprised to find this scene in the middle of my dilemmas,
and fixed my
gaze upon them.
For some very strange reason I suddenly had this
feeling that I wished that I were that dog. It was a strange
and sudden feeling.
not experience envy
or anger towards them. On the contrary, I felt happy for the dog.
I did not
want to have the luxurious life they had, but I just wished to
It was getting late into the night. The city was still busy, and
I was still observing things. The clouds were disappearing from
way I looked at the old building, which I had seen a few minutes
before, and it seemed
The naked trees were comfortably standing there.
The sky was opening, too. The clouds had finally decided to leave
and generously began
to offer a
full of stars. The bright autumn breeze was as kind as you could
imagine. In a matter of seconds people looked more human, and most
of them were
smiling at each other. They all appeared brighter in the heart
of that night.
No, I was not imagining these things. I saw them
all. All of them were happening in fragments. Witnessing all
these new things, I
my mind and decided
to enter the derelict old building to stay the night under its
roof. I had had a busy day. I was content with the weather, the
This mood, for good reason, changed my desire
to be the dog. In this state of mind I told myself that "I just want to be left alone. A dog can't
ask to be left alone." I was alone but free. That night,
as I recall, turned out to be an interesting one, and I have to
admit that I had an exquisite
in the old building.
And here I am now, looking at my surroundings,
and I ask mself "What
else does an insignificant man like me want after having all these
might sound strange to you, but my answer was nothing. I admit
this is what I felt that night under the roof of the old building.
this page to your friends