" after 22 hours of travel, dazed – thinking and moving as though he were underwater – miles returns to europe. with only a thick expensive black nylon backpack as luggage, he glides through customs at hamburg airport quickly. taller than the people in front of him he scans – in fragments, as the automatic sliding door up ahead opens and closes – the crowd of people waiting behind the steel barriers at arrivals, hoping, improbably, to see a face he recognizes. but of course there’s nobody, and he walks quickly through the waiting crowd and down to the s-bahn which he rides into the center in silence, thinking. when he gets home it’s still early, so he takes care to open the front door quietly and also closes his bedroom door behind himself when he enters it.

he opens the blinds, brittle, floury light pours in. he throws his backpack on the bed and it hits the duvet with a thud (he’s been travelling around with a thick hardback editionof a sprawling 900-page novel. without its dustjacket – left behind so it wouldn’t get damaged on his travels – the book likes some old classic, from another epoch, but it was actuallywritten in the first years of this new millennium; listlessand anonymous years in which everybody’s passionswere slowly obliged to withdraw into a vacuum, where they became incapable, seemingly, of having any effect on anything. he has now read the book seven or eight times).

he immediately unpacks and puts away every item from the backpack. he even shakes out the crumbs and dirt and other accumulated debris from the bottom of it out over the window.he puts the now-empty backpack underneath his bed, then leaveshis bedroom and goes into the narrow kitchen, closes the door behind himself and makes himself a coffee. as he waits for the coffee to boil up he goes to the window and looks down at the grey, purple-brown and orange bricks of the square below, and then up at the labyrinth of dockyard canals faintly visible on the horizon.

he is thinking about how he has run out of money again. he’s going to need to find a way to make some quickly (the possibility of having a career snaked past him permanentlya while back, in his early 30s, without him realizing it untilit was too late, at which point he panicked for a moment – like when somebody driving on the highway at night, jokingly, cuts the headlights for a couple of seconds while doing 120 or 140, and the ground below you disappears, and the car is swallowed by the darkness, sliding without traction down its throat – but then he just thought fuck it, who cares, what matters, nothing matters and launched himself into the subsequent years of chaos).the coffee pot splutters and bubbles and he turns around, switchesit off and pours it into a cup for himself. then he walks back to the window and sits down at the small chair next to it. sipping the black coffee he begins to scan all the various possibilities or potentials of his life that he’s able to imagine, testing – like mercury coursing across concrete looking for a crack – each one for its quick money-making potential. now he just feels sick.

…once he’s finished his coffee he decides to make himself another and refills the pot and puts it back on the stove. whilst he waits he goes back to his bedroom – always being careful to be very quiet – and gets his mobile phone. back in the kitchen he pours himself the coffee and, feeling a bit like a cowboy drinking at a last chance saloon at the end of the world, begins calling people who might be able to give him a job. the phone begins to ring. this is what i live for, this is what i fucking love, this is all that i’m good at, this is the meaning of my life, this is the only way i feel truly alive, he thinks to himself, blood beginning to flow warmly through his veins as the person on the other side of the phone picks up and miles begins talking. "


 

text by: lodovico pignatti morano

 

 

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