Go back

Here is a famous landmark; you think of a photo taken of your father next to this statue. He was striking a similar posture, his hand was on the statue's hip as he smiled into the camera. You realize that he was younger than you are now as you arrive at the front of the line of tourists and photograph the bronze figure.
     In the late afternoon a window display in a different part of the city jars you into another reminisence. The display is of characters in a children's book, people and several animals. The book was once popular in your country, is now most likely out-of-print, forgotten in favor of action figures and large-breasted dolls. The little girl in the book became an alter-ego, and when you were slightly older you imbued her with all kinds of provocative traits. Catching a glimpse of yourself-as a woman staring into a storefront, it occurs to you that you look somewhat like an adult version of the girl in the story, but not enough to cause alarm.
     As it begins to get dark, you lie stretched out on the hotel bed, listening to unfamiliar sounds before getting ready to go back out.
     Was that person the love of your life, and how is it that this welling up of feeling is the only time you have experienced a heavy sense of loss? Why has it taken your arrival on another continent to feel this sadness for the first time?
     Once, you recall, you were sitting in your car at a stoplight on a drizzly Sunday afternoon. The traffic was quite minimal. When the light turned green you looked into the rearview mirror and seeing no car behind you, did not accelerate-just kept looking at the green light and into the rearview mirror to make sure no car was approaching, for you were not in a hurry and did not particularly feel like moving. While the light was still green a large truck came barreling through the intersection, the driver deliberately running the red light and hurtling out of sight.
     A poet believes Levinas's ethics break down where the "other" can't be equated with "someone else" where "the face" is faceless.

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