Outside the city, night. The backyard boundaries are defined by dim light, glaring shades that cut through the layers of snow that settled here during the day on the grass beyond the stone wall enclosing our premises, on the path to the square with the garbage containers on its left, on the sandbox to the right, on the roofs of the houses opposite and next to it which have been whitened by a faint drift of snow. The backyard is tightly enclosed on both sides, only half-open towards the rear wall, above it, there are a number of apartment blocks visible; it is nothing but a black breathing, heavy and very fast paced.
Something lingers motionless beneath, schemenhaft and threatening, below the balcony on the third floor where I am. Light shines in through the window, its glass pane filtering the night, yet a cool draft of air is creeping in, roaming around in the room, caresses the curtains’ fabric, the quilt, my feet, kisses me with thin lips. I lie here in bed and try to sleep, I lay down early, long before midnight, in vain. I’ve seen your face too often. Winter whitens the night.
Tonight, when I came back, I met my neighbor at the door of the house. Apparently he is moving, was about to transport his belongings to his car; the door was held open by his moving boxes, on top of which there were children’s toys. We’ve never talked before. A kid on my floor, wouldn’t I have noticed? Is that possible? He is about 40 years old, slim, thinning hair, rather the type employee than someone who works physically, with your hands and body; seemingly comfortable, yet with a fleeting glance through his glasses, which lenses shelter him against the outside, not a risk. A type of wuss. Need some help? I ask. No, no, everything’s fine, he responds to my offer. And that’s it with our first conversation ever, and also with my dealings with others for today.
Every situation has its own language. Has this mousy man had part in my life? In my transgressions? Two doors and a maximum of three meters or less, a little more than a landing, that is not really enough distance to distinguish different lives. And yet this has been the first time that I peered through the opposite door into the nearby home realm there when I was walking upstairs towards my apartment; I took no more than a glance at the furniture in the hall, a white bench, a dresser, the dark pattern of wood flooring, the open door to the bathroom at the end of the corridor which seemed like a twin of mine, a white-tiled bright room without windows.
All the other doors, to the right, left, closed. I used to love winter nights, waiting impatiently for their clarion advent, fond of their alluring glory, a promise in all its brilliance of making things equal, equitable, the snowflakes’ dance. Not anymore. The night is outside without boundaries.
[The Norwegian language original version of this text can be found here: http://www.quisquilia.net/nova_blog/wordpress/utenfor-2277.html ]