What turns up on the screen

16 Nov

In the video he is editing, there is just a single figure: himself in a deliberately grainy ersatz old school black and white.  The music comes from a distant room.  A series of scales, rising and falling: someone practicing trumpet.  And he’s like a memory of himself in there on the preview screen within a screen within a screen.  He’s made himself a dream he half-remembers, stumbled in upon himself remembering:  the way he moved his arms a semaphore of loneliness, a help me help me help me scene of improvised ballet.  A dance he’ll never duplicate because he forgot the camera was watching and what was meant to express a fleeting private grievance with the world and with himself, and the bare-walled, wood-floored room in which he’d found himself has somehow travelled across time to reach him six months later, six months older, seated here in the cold computer room in the silent house.  And when this clip had uploaded, just a few minutes before, and he’d noticed it amid the remnants of photos of camping in July, the dog with the cake and icing in its fur, he’d clicked upon it first thinking simply to delete it without looking, but it had opened  automatically  in Windows Media Player and he’d paused to watch it: a man in middle age, moving without deliberate intention to a half-heard, half-played music coming unintended through the walls and ceiling.  All this has stirred the emptiness inside him.  Or what he thought was emptiness.  There is a story here, he thinks, an event, a person, a human consciousness, a life.

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