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the trains still run

They never taught us more than how to make things. They did not explain how to take pictures, or write stories, or record songs when the walls are falling down. What should you paint when the sky is falling? And yet, they taught us all we needed to know. As I have begun to understand over and over again, all art is political. All freedom is freedom. The trains still run. The cameras can still be loaded with fresh rolls of film that smell of plastic and possibility. If there is a pothole, at some point it gets filled. Sometimes it just takes a hell of a long time to happen.

The sun rises. Children trundle around in the snow, laughing, falling down and getting back up again. Yes, the news is unthinkable. Yes, the headlines are poisonous enough to make you throw things out the window. But there is still dinner to cook, and why not make it delicious? Why not crack an egg, or laugh wildly at nothing in particular?

There was a night, about eight years ago when I was told that the militia w…

trespasses


One of the two elevators is broken again. The floor peeks out, half-way up the doors that are cracked apart.  A light dangles from a hook. A man's dirty hands are scratching around. There is a screwdriver on the floor next to me. I see it, passing it to him without even seeing his face. He mumbles a thank you. The doors to the other elevator bang open, and I step inside.

Upstairs, I think of this scene. The doors apart, the slice of light that plays around. I think to load my camera with a fresh roll of film and go back downstairs. The film is cold, tucked into a bag in the corner of the fridge. It needs to come to room temperature before I put it into the camera or moisture might condense on it.

The roll stands on the edge of the kitchen table. I clean the camera, blow air inside it and behind the lens. I turn it over in my hands, and then the canister is warm enough and I load it. At the same time, I understand I cannot take this picture. If the man sees me, he might be furious. Documenting anyone working here, it is something a spy does, or better said - an informant. The shot is not worth it. The risk is too great. The country seems to be built on trespasses. So much is forbidden. Even the gravestones in cemeteries have little fences around them.

Then, I decide to take the elevator to the second floor, not the first and maybe I can take the picture from there and never be noticed. I pull on a black trench coat. The camera hides under my armpit.

Downstairs, I peer into the darkness of the first floor. The doors are closed. He is already gone.



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