He walked into my dream and just stood there. That was Giuseppe Verdi1), dressed in a formal, dark suit and not quite as tall as I expected. He was holding two sticks and looked a bit out of place and out of date. I couldn’t quite understand what was it that Sue2) found interesting in him.
I put my socks on. There was no point telling him I was looking for my pants, so I kept circling the room and finally found them behind the bed.
I took one stick; he kept the other one. We walked towards the hills. He smiled with the confidence of someone who knows what he is doing.
Then we split. I chose to climb the hill on the left. He took the right path and disappeared in the bushes. I forgot to ask him if morality and immortality are somehow related.
Once on the top I saw him waving from the other hill. He stood there like a science-teacher who presents a problem, just in the order to minutes later, solve it himself.3)
Exactly at the same time, we placed our sticks in the ground, pointing them towards the Sun, so that there was no visible shade on the ground.
This was our ‘solar triangle’, an imaginary sculpture that lasts only briefly before the Earth moves and shadows appear.4)
Walking down the slope, I heard myself mumbling and realised that nothing feels better than a good whinge.
Then he joined me. ‘Did you hear the strange sound?’
Suddenly a man in a black dressing gown appeared. We stopped in front of him, following the movement of his hands. ‘A long time ago’ – he said – ‘I fell from a horse and broke my leg. I was taken to the hospital and after the operation, I realised that my injured leg was an inch shorter. Since then I started limping.’ He gave us a look, as if his story was of a great historical importance, then continued in a lower voice. ‘Last year I was hit by a car, as I was crossing the street in the city. When I woke up from a coma I was told that they had managed to save my leg, but unfortunately, they had to overlap the broken bone, so it ended being somewhat shorter.’ He looked down at his feet and concluded – ‘The worst thing was that it happened to the leg that was already shorter, diminishing my hope of ever again walking without limping.’
As we left the man in dressing gown, I heard Giuseppe whispering – ‘When limbs are not synchronised, the person walks like an untuned piano.’
Then we saw a skinny, gypsy girl with green hair and a thick, long rope fastened around her waist. The other end of the rope was tied to a tree, so her movements were limited. She was able to walk or run in only one direction at a time. As she moved, she was unwinding the rope, then winding it up, until she would stop, hitting the tree. The faster she ran, the more the rope was cutting into her waist.5)
‘Such is the power of centrifugal force,’ Giuseppe said.
I thought of the spiral trajectory of her movement.
‘In a real life’ – Giuseppe continued – ‘Our actions are limited by available degrees of freedom. We can only act within the scope of given restrictions.’
I looked at Giuseppe, but he was gone.
1) Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) – Italian opera composer
2) Sue – member of our writers’ group from Sunshine Coast, Australia
3)A modified sentence from ‘A Susan Sontag Reader’ (1982), by Susan Sontag (1933-2004)
4) Paja Stankovic, Mirko Dilberovic – ‘A project for Day and Night’, a landscape ritual, Brezovica, Serbia 1978
5) Paja Stankovic – ‘The Spiral’, a body-art project, Sibenik, Croatia 1980