I'm walking along the River Nidd, down past the viaduct towards the water. I can still feel echoes of the past week in my body; the dull itch of a mosquito bite, the ache in my shoulder from carrying the 'Posthuman Glossary' through the streets of Utrecht, back and forth to lectures for five days.
I didn't need to come this way, by the river, but I'm reluctant to head into town just yet. We stop at a cafe and I watch the river flowing by; punctuated by rowing boats and the odd rumble of trains across the stone arches fifty feet above the water.
'To become imperceptible oneself, to have dismantled love in order to become capable of loving. To have dismantled one's self in order finally to be alone and meet the true double at the other end of the line. A clandestine passenger on a motionless voyage. To paint oneself gray on gray.' (Deleuze and Guattari).
I was here, at this very cafe, twelve years ago today, and I'm wondering how I could have forgotten this fact. In days of techno-memories, everything commemorated, and a lingering digital afterglow, it's surprising it slipped my mind. That day was very much like this one; clouds and warm sun but with a slight, barely perceptible chill which signalled the end of summer. I had been pregnant, and then, that day, I suddenly wasn't. What I was carrying was as light and material as Alice.
The scan had revealed what was a temporary spark of potential, a flicker that became imperceptible, matter in matter... and ultimately of no matter, on a bank holiday weekend when the hospitals were too full to take me. I came here to walk and wait, looking at the same river I'm next to now, except it isn't the same river of course, and I am not the same person I was back then.
'My wound existed before me; I was born to embody it.' Joe Bousquet
I'm walking up the hill to the art gallery now, and Alice is starting to feel awkward; I'm warm, and the canvas is scratching against my legs. I think about her journey, from Iran across Europe to here in North Yorkshire. As I enter the shop and hand her over, I wonder if she's tired.
I look forward to seeing her again.
|'Alice Goes East' - Kamran Behrouz|