Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A fakery of a fakery of a fakery

I only go this way home, west through the park and up the hill towards The Great Hall when I can't bear to go the other way round -- today walking up the stairway from the pond and the bridge and onto the landing by the entrance to the oldest university in the city behind a group of middle-aged Chinese tourists as if I were one of them only: a middle-aged tourist too.

This is the direction home which always takes me past the spot on the landing where I once saw a woman standing with her feet apart and arms akimbo in front of a bollard. It's no longer there, this bollard, but its absence still reminds me of the way this woman had been looking up towards The Great Hall -- standing with her back to a man who was squatting with one knee on the concrete at the top of the stairs so that he might take a photo of this grand moment -- since, with the afternoon sun on her hair, all of her life seemed to have been ignited by a profound connection to all that is beautiful and old (if fake, since the colonial Gothic is so much a fakery of a fakery of a fakery, as I'm always thinking).

It had seemed to be one of those moments of blissful oblivion that you see everywhere in these kinds of places, I was remembering yet again, and so hence my surprise when, as I went on to pass the woman, I had looked back to see that her face was tight and closed, which made the way that her friend was still kneeling behind her, with his phone held out just a little and forwards -- the phone-cum-camera in the place of some delicate and hopeful offering -- too painful to look at.

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