in the gentle drizzle, i wandered and soaked. i had never really dried off from the shower, so the rain just extended my sogginess. i rather liked it though; it kept me cool in the dusk on the roof. the pitter patter of the rain on the tar-top sounded like soft fingertips gently worrying themselves across the kitchen table. it was a comforting din that worked its way through the thick july air. it acted like insulation for the rest of the rooftop goings-on. for a while, that tap-tap-tapping was all i heard. but then, subtle sounds started to sneak their way in.
the clicks and snaps of a loosely rigged tarp in the wind poked through like thumbtacks; shelter from the raindrops. i was near the makeshift stairway when i became aware of these new sounds. hearing them, my ears perked up a bit. i was curious to see what or who else might be up here with me. and, as i listened harder, i crept up closer--through the awkward passageway between exhaust vents and steampipes, over the moldy planks. i heard the baritone of a man's voice, the soft soprano of his companion, and then suddenly the sharp alto of Elayna.
her voice was familiar to me for, as is usually the case, the walls of our stacked apartments are quite thin. and, in the mornings as i worked through my *régime*, i would wind up moving to the soundtrack of Elayna's laughter ...or her tears. brushing my teeth, i was privvy to her good days and her bad ones. and, a parent's frustration of not being able to predict which day it would be this morning or the next. it's a difficult way to become acquainted since you never really meet but nevertheless remain an observer to what are thought to be intimate moments.
it's like sound or light. humans are limited in their ability to appreciate the full spectrum of things that exist in the world. to wit: a dog can hear more frequencies of sound than both you or i. still other animals are able to register frequencies of light that are elseways imperceptible to us. normally, we operate within the most basic range of frequencies. and these are the parts of ourselves we put forth: the average of all frequencies, satisfactorily harmonious. however, in private, we can become beasts of lust or anger or sorrow. in these throes, we become something else. and so, we employ frequencies otherwise reserved for more primal creatures. these are sides of ourselves we never intend to let out of their cages; we keep them locked up for good reason. when they do escape, it's not for others' enjoyment. to witness these moments--be it first hand or through a paper thin wall--is an uncomfortable experience. you'd simply rather not have been around for it.
however it is the silent witness who is burdened most. for not only must he know the beast, he must also come to know the imposter, the deceiver, the Charlatan. this character is ignorant to another's knowledge of his darker side and so behaves as if there was no awareness to begin with. meeting on the street, the Charlatan greets you warmly, with a kind voice and a generous smile. but, as you become familiar with his more sinister side--creeping through the walls during countless evenings and quiet, early dawns--you begin to notice the canines in his grin, the shrill tone in his,"hello." you come to understand that the average of all frequencies is nothing more than a façade. a harmony whose parts are rough and mottled, designed with the intent to cover up the most unpleasant tones rather than reveal a beautifully complex agreement. no matter. in the end, the worst notes ring truest, and you get a glimpse of the full spectrum whether you wanted it or not.
and then, you start to think about yourself.