I spent a very quiet day in a very loud cinema today. I didn’t speak much myself, not much of substance. Nothing that would advance any opinions of me in any particular direction. Around me people swarmed in and out of new and quickly ageing films, pieces of artwork belonging to those faraway, incredibly lucky souls that are deemed genius for their efforts in sentiment and style. Again, I stand and stare out of giant windows. Again, I bite my tongue in the presence and unearned grace of rude people of all creeds and classes, I make friends and play silly games with them in an attempt to keep all of this hair-greying at bay. Make me feel young, I ask. But you are, they remind me.

I watch many, many people I know walk past me, sometimes a few in one day, as I stand stuck in the mud behind a counter that maybe is just an excuse not to shout when really it’s the distance, the not-quite-close-and-face-facing-enough that keeps you from calling out to people because they probably wouldn’t hear you, and even if they did they might not be able to tell it was you from that distance, and even if they did, they might not remember you… and it would be awkward.

Lola and her daddy were in today, and I just watched her run around the foyer in a giddy game, get tired, throw a paddy, and finally be taken home in a pushchair. It took me a moment to consider that I recognised her, that I might have a right to look at her and to care how she was, and soon afterwards they were all gone. Like this, my life, memories, friends and acquaintances pass me by. I could even have imagined them all completely. No interaction. No evidence. No progression. A synopsis, an epilogue of each person I’ve known writing itself assumingly in my mind. It’s kind of like a day spent on Facebook. Only more romantic.

‘Longing’ Kevin Clark

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