June. Halfway through this year. All sorts of stories to tell. None of them that make any sense. It’s a bright and breezy day on Gower Street; just warm enough to sit outside with my coat draped around my shoulders très Parisienne. Perhaps it is this circumstantial outfit choice that has lead me to sip coffee for far too long and read romantic letters in French. And perhaps it is these letters that have woken a sudden inspiration to apply a tint of red to my lips. It’s all a cycle: like a chameleon, the unsuspecting human camouflages into its environment. The effect is complete in the unison of clothes, make-up, weather (!), beverage, and most importantly, je ne sais quoi. A facial expression, a specific tilt of the head to 31 or 28 degrees left. A register of voice, the exact distance your eyes focus on when you absently stare into the inexact distance.These details are all cracks in the unsuspecting human where the inside leaks to the outside world.
Another crack in the camouflage is when you finish a good book. You turn the last page, close the cover, and sit in one spot twiddling your thumbs – suddenly void inside. The chameleon cannot find a colour called ‘void’. This happened to me the other day when I closed my copy of Attrib. by Eley Williams. A new collection of short stories, Attrib. perfectly communicates the fundamental gaps in human communication -paradoxically enough.
“The plot, yes – the condition of its being lost”, is not a condition I was aware I was experiencing until I read the line. I love it when books do that; they have the ability to explain you to yourself.
The human cracks of my chameleon camouflage are beginning to eek out into the grayscale of the streets of London and and the hard concrete of the Underground. The wall on Tottenham Court Road is starting to peel and a tint of Picasso it is hiding inside has been leaking through.
And, as ever, the artistic notes of espresso keep weaving themselves into pretty patterns of white brushstrokes upon a caffeinated canvas, the steam swirling out and carrying with it a pleasant surprise for the nostrils of passers by. Another half a year looms ahead; the coffee drips into my bloodstream and seeps into this day – all the more swiftly through my cracks. Cracks, like windows opened.