Monday, October 09, 2006
The first moment he saw her he could not meet her glance. A repelling force stronger than magnetism diverted his eyes to the sidewalk and her shadow borne by the tips of her toes. She stood among friends. Talking. Unaware. He moved in sideways, looking upwards, as if searching for clouds, inching closer until his sliding steps pinned the shadow. The girl's bus came, and she left with her friends, but the shadow remained with him. The living girl did not miss it. Shadows are transient creatures with as many incarnations as there are angles and shades of light.
Once home with the girl's shadow he arranged the apartment for cohabitation. Shadows enjoy a cool room with sources of light, to accentuate the nocturnal nature of their animation. The shadow girl explored her new abode, casting herself upon the wall, rippling over curtains, and brushing by her newfound protector. That night they lay side-by-side on the bed, the dim glow of the nightlight absorbed by her figure, so that he could only sense her presence where the bed was darkest.
Have you ever felt the warm, breathlike touch of a shadow as it slides upon you, like a second skin melting into your own? He felt it then, as the girl-shadow wrapped him like a larva in a silk cocoon. He became conscious of every nerve in his body, and through each nerve coursed tingling pleasure. The incessant stream of total sensation dazed him beyond sleep into a contented stupor that ended with the morning rays through the chiffon curtain.
The intensity of those hours drove out even the knowledge of who he was. He was someone new now, and so stunned he could only wonder if the intangible memory of the night was of a dream or a reality, or some twilight compromise between the two. The shadow rose and began anew to explore the walls of her home. With ultimate agility she merged herself into corners, danced a twirling dance across the wallpaper, looming or shrinking, depending on her mood. Her two dimensions contained a universe.
He sprawled in the arm chair in the center of the room, head turning to trace her flickering motions, much like a paralyzed moth might follow a moving flame. She grasped the shadow of his camera, began an orbit around him, shooting snapshots from all sides. Then she stood still in the morning light. He planted his gaze directly onto her blank face, wanting more than anything to decipher the wistful emotion that directed her. She stood poised to snap his picture, to capture that moment of bafflement. She did so, then turned the camera upon herself and snapped. The sharp burst of the camera's flash was too much for her to absorb. And she was gone, without leaving a note.
Many thanks to Alexandra Shcherbakova for allowing me to repost her photograph. You may view more of Alexandra's photography at her fotocommunity.com gallery.
Also, many thanks to all who contributed their creativity this weekend! You guys are great!
Previous shadow stories at Indeterminacy:
And for those who are fascinated by the art of shadows, here is a link to the marvelous Shadow Art Gallery of Mayuko Fujino.