W.E. – Shattered Impressions


In the first part of the last century, a number of Englishmen arrived at the shores of Dunnes Bay. They held their breath before climbing off board, but nevertheless, they obviously wanted something, perhaps even something which they dare not mention, and it soon became obvious that that which they wanted was more than just a few pearls and some silver to bring home as a souvenir. They had not been travelling thus far in order to be belittled or shamed in any way, but in order to prove to themselves and to their kinfolk that they had plenty of gall and guts to take on any rival, whether perceived or real. But upon their arrival they found, to their great relief, no one to greet them but a few natives that proved hospitable enough.


Glazier-like ice mountains and rocks shattered all over the place. I am lost. My best friend and my girlfriend are searching for me, repeatedly shouting my name with voices that echo and sound urgent but remote. I can hear them, but I cannot speak. I can even see them, but they cannot see me, because they are in the dream, not me, so I can never be found. It saddens me to think about that.


The Kinshasa sunlight that creeps in, seemingly, through every window is inferior to nothing on Earth; so destructive, yet beautiful are its powers that more than just a few travelers have confused it with a somewhat similar, yet essentially different phenomenon called “Southern Eclipse.”

We are trailing along, just trying to keep track of the transmission of history; in itself a daunting task which certainly is made no easier by the monotonous sound of palm leaves, birds singing in complex, yet ultimately predictable patterns, and the unmistakable Chimpanzee. This is no place of change.

Our car is in an awful condition and is in desperate need of repair, yet somehow neither we nor our driver seem to object to the day-long, sometimes week-long delays caused by the chronic lack of spare parts that is too common in these balmy environs.


In less tumultuous times, the angels might have swept down the street forming a crisp chorus of voices ringing like bells into the night. Before it would be dawn, they might have instilled into our minds a confidence which, although we would be mystified and stupefied, would teach us how to finally tell ourselves: Thou shall fear no more, thou shall harbor remorse no longer!

Unfortunately, in our part of the world – and a similar tendency applies to those other parts of the world with which I have become familiar – angels do not often tend to make their presence known in the hardest of times. Noise and unrest of any kind seems, rather, to discourage them, as if they mistook our despair for preoccupation with our own problems, as if in the bewilderment of our eyes and our downward lips they would read a signal saying: Don’t come near, leave us alone!

Therein lies the source of our loneliness. We, the people, do not often smile or reach out to our fellow man in times of need and trouble. Rather, we isolate ourselves and become less approachable than in happier hours, when our need for contact, whether divine or human in kind, would appear to be so much less significant.

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