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January 20, 2012 by · 2 comments

Dalia Al-Halil
Translated by: Yana Radilova

Photo: winzor2007

Under the bridge is the street gallery – self-creating and self-sufficient. There is a portrait of Christ. Moist has tried to take over the halo. On the left, a girl with umbrella is depicted. Stretching her hand to see whether it rains, but the rain is only below. On the right – a silhouette of a little girl, holding a bunch of balloons, trying to rise over the concrete fence. On the opposite side of the bridge – depicted stairs, which lead to a real nest of unflown swallows.

He was sitting on the curb under the bridge. His eyes expressed selfishness, his lips – self-criticism, his red face – relaxed craze, and his shivering painted fingers – creativity. He was sitting and watching the graffiti he made just below Christ. He had made a picture of a big keyboard and above it – a wide white monitor.

The keyboard had all letters, but no space, no digits. Deliberately. Just to prevent anybody from writing sums, years, telephone numbers, prices. In his opinion the lack of space would be a sign that its use is forbidden. He wanted the writing person to be able to express himself with simply one word or several ones, united in a whole one – powerful, influential, but as meaningless as a great geniality.
He decided to be the last to write on his own graffiti; then left, taking with him his ambitious craze.

Pink morning. Sun is up. Reddening afternoon. Dark blue, indigo night. And four times the same.

A rambler stood before the keyboard. He looked up and saw the portrait of Christ. “I feel like in a modern church!”, he thought. Thus the first word came. But the rambler kept on pressing the depicted buttons. No one knew what the word was, except from the two girls and Christ.
Eventually, the street gallery under the bridge turned was often visited by all kinds of people.

The second visitor was a rambler, too. But he didn’t know that. Driving his car through the gallery, he stared into the big monitor and the keyboard. Suddenly he stopped. The dust cheered up at the spontaneous decision and embraces the man with the suit, voluntarily getting out of his car. He couched, putting a hand on his mouth – as a sing of good manners.

Coming closer to the keyboard, he wondered how could one write on a depicted keyboard. So illogical!

It looked like a sculpture of Roden. His thoughts were like a duel. Oh, my God…it’s so frightening here. But…no, no, no… this is crazy! I can’t!”, he lied and went back to his car.

There are strange moments in life when you can’t help going crazy, especially when nobody can see you. He turned abruptly and ran to the car. After taking something, he went to the graffiti and left his precious shiny pen in a small crevice. “As I am not brave enough to write, let somebody else do this:, he said and left.

Different people – different writings. All kinds of things were written on the “monitor”. People wrote about their complaints, ambitions, they expressed all colors of human soul – including stupidity, vulgarity and the desire of being noticed.

It was interesting how two strangers even started a conversation. They came on different time and read their messages which were recognized by their handwriting. Innocently, they began discussing the strange idea of the keyboard and the monitor. They wrote opinions, talked about their lives and after long writing, this is what could be read: “bythewayiamivan.searchingformaria.youarevapid.butactuallymynameis”.

Here comes the end of the text, apparently because the pen stopped writing. The following is written with a right orange lipstick: “reall”
Another break. She was probably searching for something to write with. The next letters are of mud:

The master was scrutinizing some of the writings, holding in his hand a pail of whitewash. He had already read and guessed among the long line of words the interesting relationship between these two people. “Have they already met?” he wondered. The writings went out of the borders of the monitor. People had no room so they started writing around the Christ’s portrait, on the girl’s balloons. In the umbrella – the walls under the bridge were almost written. The master’s eyes ached but he went on reading what the other people had written.

“Isthereanybodylevskiisnumberonewhereareyoufindhiminthecornersmileevenasleepyouarearoseyouareacreamyouarehappinessformeitisbetternottokisstheiconswithlipstickbecauseitleavestraces! Let your light shine! Youdon’havetherighttowritewithspacewhichilikenomatterifsomebodysuffershellostupidmengreatewhereareyoubirdsdiealonewhiletiredhorseswerekilled.whereareyoumaria.”

The master was reading, staring and thinking for such a long time that the pain brush was back in the pail. In the distance a woman appeared. “It must be her”. The silhouette came closer on the pavement. Gradually. Gradually. Gradually. But then she skipped the graffiti.
The master looked back to the “monitor.” He looked around, worrying that somebody could regard him as crazy. Then he started pressing the depicted keys: P-I-T-Y.

After a while the whiteness covered everything – Christ, Monitor, Girls, Keyboard, Stairs, Hope. Swallows had already flown.
The street artist came back after 893 days. Or he chose to think so. His eyes expressed dryness, his mouth – inexplicitness, his face – extinguished insanity.
He watched the dirty white street gallery under the bridge. On the place where the monitor had stood somebody wrote: “wewantthemonitorbackyouarecrazywewanttowrite”.
On the one side one wrote by the means of a stencil and red paint: “Writing is not allowed here. The violators will be imposed a fine.” A message was put up there: “Dear citizens, we address to you politely with the request to cease this madness of writing. Bear in mind that you destroy a state property. Yours faithfully, Town Council”

Standing in front of the wall, he imagined the keyboard and started pressing the imaginary keys: N-O-T-M-A-D-N-E-S-S-I-S-T-H-E-F-R-E-E-D-O-M-O-F-B-E-I-N-G-M-I-S-U-N-D-E-R-S-T-O-O-D
Then he pressed ENTER.

This text won the second award in the literary competition “Writing is insane”.

Categories: Frontpage · Prose



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