I just discovered this story I wrote to accompany my instrumental ‘Sideliner’, which I recently released on YouTube and Soundcloud.
That day he started walking. For no particular reason. He could as well have started sitting. Or sleeping, or cooking for himself. But he didn’t. He just started walking. The odd thing about it was that the only, single thing he did was walk. He never stopped. Not just to sit for a while, or to sleep or to cook for himself. He didn’t even do anything else while walking. He didn’t eat. He didn’t talk. He didn’t even think.
If one could look through his eyes, one would at first see nothing at all. And at second, one still wouldn’t see a single thing. There was no road to walk on, no houses standing at it; there wasn’t even the tiniest bit of smoke coming from the chimneys of the invisible houses at the non-existing road. Or at least, so it would have seemed, if only one really could have looked through his eyes. But as for now, no one has ever succeeded in looking through a person’s eyes.
However, most people do have the ability to imagine what one is seeing. And here’s one who is going to write down his imagination of what the walking man could have possibly seen.
Of course! He must have seen a road, and houses and smoking chimneys. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to walk. But roads, houses and chimneys are getting boring when you are always walking. So I’m going to tell you the other things he saw (or at least my imagination of them).
My first projection appeares to be quite close. When I enter the head of the walking man, whom people have started calling the ‘Sideliner’ soon, I simply don’t see a thing. So I can’t think of anything else but waiting until I’m starting to see something.
The first thing I experience after some (seemingly absent) time is not a view. It’s a feeling. Not an emotional feeling, but a physical feeling. It’s like my feet are going “bump, bump” against something in a steady rythm. After some time I realise what it is. The feeling of walking. It’s a strange experience to be walking on nothing, coming from nowhere and going to no place.
After a short while, I’m starting to notice something else. This time it is a visible thing. As there has been nothing to see until now, neither darkness, nor light, it stays indefinite for a while. It seems to be a wrinkle in the complete absence of everything. Like somebody has just thrown a stone into it.
But then, the wrinkling starts to get colours and it’s starting to vibrate faster. The absence of everything around it starts to become light. Just light, in its purest shape. Now I’m starting to feel a little vibration in the Sideliner. An emotional feeling hits my imagination: fear. Fear, slowly turning to horror. I can understand that, because the sight in front of me is starting to get quite horrifying. Suddenly I’m also feeling a lot of heat. The wrinkles have become flames. Out of the flames comes a hand. The hand exists of pure absence. Apparently this is too much for the sideliner, because he turns around and starts running. Away from the hand.
But wherever he walks, the hand stays in front of him. It seems that the phenomenon of direction still lies somewhere hidden in the absence. But then there is a new experience. Sound. A lot of sound. A deafening amount of sound. It lasts a few moments, after which it gets more structure. It’s undescribable, but the chaos seems to disappear while the sound is lasting. The hand in front of us gets a human shape, almost divine. It’s reaching out. And suddenly direction seems to enter this confusing environment. The hand seems to disappear. The sideliner starts running slower. He returns to walking, and then turns around. The hand turns out to be very closely behind us. The pure light seems to get troubled. After a short while different shapes begin to appear around us and the hand. Whether we haven’t noticed it before, or it has only just started to show, we don’t know, but the hand gets less divine and appears to be holding another, smaller hand. As the blurry sight gets sharper, arms appear on both hands. One pointing downwards, the other pointing upwards. The arms get bodies, and the bodies get heads and legs and feet. Walking feet.
We’re walking in a sunny neighbourhood. In front of us, there’s a woman and a little boy. They are talking to each other. At last, their chatter stops as they notice a man walking behind them. The woman speaks to the man. “You’re early today!” The man smiles, kisses the woman and takes up his son. They start talking to each others as they walk into their house. The chimney, all solid and well, doesn’t produce any smoke. There’s no need, for it’s a warm day. A summer’s day.
J.B. Dazen, 3 february 2001, edited 3 october 2005.