Monday, 18 September 2017


There's a young man I will never write about. I do not quite understand why, but there are сlauses you'd rather not trigger. Places you'd rather not go. 

He works in a modern art gallery, like so many of them do, and I see him in places as different as Warsaw and Dublin. His job is to walk around the room with landscapes by Gabriele Münter and to make sure that no one gets too close. Or else his job is to sit on one of those basic chairs and stare blankly at the visitors.

The visitors say something, on occasion, like "her genius was underrated" or "wasn't her ambition a little bit too studied?" Sometimes they would even broach a wider issue and whisper: "Gauguin almost works for me, but doesn't" and "Cezanne almost doesn't work for me, but does". Most often, however, they settle on "My God this is awful". 

And through all of that, he looks bored but intelligent. Aloof yet self-confident. A man of mystery. 

But here's the funny thing: they do not notice the young man. Almost no one does. I try to cut him open with a sideways glance, but my knife is much too blunt. I can't get in, though not for want of trying. He's been here for days, weeks, months, in this tiny room overlooked by red cubes, black squares and disfigured farmers. To him, we are hopeless drifters. I think that in all this time surrounded by Kandinsky and Pollock... well, he must have learnt some underlying mystery, but his eyes give away so little.

There is, however, a chance that he knows no mystery. All these years in the sun are fake years, they taught him nothing beyond the fleeting backs of a million visitors.  

Either way, I can't write about him. For if I do, a story or perhaps a novel, something stretching beyond this brief sketch here, I'm afraid that I could accidentally find him out.