At night when I can’t sleep and at noon in the streets I don’t know who I am and could be anybody. Is it so uncommon? Glancing—a sideways look, head tilted—at your own peculiarities: the sins the beauty the beauty marks the children the parents the siblings the untold the told sufferings—couldn’t they all be so easily swapped? For any of the faces in the crowd or the phantoms that pass through my bedroom or that lie with me on the bed or any of those spirits somewhere else in the house. I spin around and can’t sleep. I’m a zombie in the street. The noon sun beats down.
Later on. But then what do we do with the facts? They pebble and loom and soil us up (but that’s a prejudice; they’re as clean as paper, as clean as us). They’re stacked around us, very close. Here are mine: I’m sitting in my attic apartment looking out its round window, practicing my routine for tonight. It’s about to rain, in fact it’s beginning to. The radio announces “Terrible terrible times!” and I click it off and put on a record of piano music and, passing to put the old one in a sleeve, look again onto the slickening street. A beautiful-looking woman walks fast. She needs an umbrella. Dark, wet spotson her blouse.
(The cover below links to the Hyperallergic Store, where The Strangers and other Black Square Editions can be purchased. The cover above is of fog & car, Eugene Lim’s previous novel.)