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Sunday, Jun. 05, 2005 - 4:14 a.m.

The mist forms over the blackness of the sea and rolls into the city, turning it translucent. The black sky becomes thick with white and loses its transparency to infinity. A city in mist is a different city; it is not the one we know.

The white fog of vision obscures but it also clarifies. It blurs the straight lines of roads, and transforms the shape of the skyline. The mist dissolves the outlines of office buildings, and their unnecessary self-importance, leaving the essentia of things. The solid sixty storeyed facade changes into untethered, random rows of light floating in the dark. It looks further away because of the mist. As if a journey must be undertaken to reach it.

Walking in this misted city is like walking into a house, whose occupants have just exited and will never come back. The mist has carried everyone away. The city is stilled. Apartment windows are blacked out, and there is no sound of doors being opened or closed. A lamppost shines diffuse white light on an empty road and its untravelled pavements. Other lampposts stand in silent train yards, between the cold confusion of steel rails. They stand over de-coupled train-cars, casting light and shadow through their windows. It is a pattern of shadow that will never be seen.

I walk into her empty cinemas without paying and watch my films alone. I slide my arms into clothes that I want to try, and there is no one else in the mirror's reflection. I sit on the floor, leaning against bookshelves in a bookstore, reading. I have taken every book I have ever wanted to read, and many others whose cover designs connote literary significance. I break a store window with a stone, and crash a car into a wall. Both acts feel less satisfying than I thought they would. I walk into a thin church, down the aisle between the barren pews, and kiss the foot of the huge cross against the wall. It is not something I would have done if there were other people around. I climb up a minaret and look out. In the cavernous main prayer hall of a mosque, I press my ear against the cold, marbled floor and listen for footsteps for a long time. Silence. I cross an empty street and pass a house. Through the window, the television set is on, broadcasting static. I turn it off and leave through the front door, walking into the abstracting, transforming mist. Everyone is gone and I am alone with my freedom. In a translucent city at night.

I feel my body disappear. The mist covers everything. Only my voice remains, the only sound left in the city, uncertain, imperfect, narrating.


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