Sunday, May 11, 2008


It is a large open space, inside a vast modern building. The roof is very high and slightly curved, and scattered throughout are many thick white columns. The walls are white as well, punctuated by light brown and black adornments along the edges. There are large banners high up on the walls and smaller posters at eye level. There are small booths arranged in long rows, forming a criss cross pattern through the hall. Each booth has one or two sellers showing off their items or their skills. People walk from one booth to another, asking questions, admiring the merchandise, talking to each other and sometimes buying a piece. The products are of a wide variety. Some people are selling books and magazines, others sell paintings, sculptures or posters. Others sell unique items: a rare letter from a legendary author, a cross encrusted with the bones of saints, an exotic musical instrument that consists of several layers of cymbals connected by a metal cylinder, a silver scepter said to be from a lost civilization. The sellers are of a wide variety as well. Some are old and sly, wearing overcoats and hats, their eyebrows slant upwards and their smiles seem frozen in place. They know what to say and how to say it, they can respond quickly to any question and have a way of holding their audience in place. Others are young and inexperienced. They sit behind their products, hoping someone will want them and they smile weakly when asked a question, as if asking for forgiveness or pity from the onlookers. The noise of the salesmen and the crowd that moves around them is echoed through the huge space, forming a constant wall of sound that vibrates and feedbacks upon itself.
The entire place is surrounded by a garden. There are several doorways to the garden and they are all open, allowing a gentle breeze to flow through. Outside, people sit, eat and talk. There are many stone paths that connect a multitude of stone tables. There are many cement benches as well, surrounding large carefully trimmed bushes. Several large trees provide shade and there is a large open lawn where kids play. A young boy examines the magical stick that his Dad just bought him. His eyes are full of wonder as they caress every detail of the engravings that cover the stick. The father sits a few feet away, reading a new book while he eats a hot dog. A slight brunette girl poses for her boyfriend wearing a new shiny dress and a pearl necklace she just got. The boyfriend, a young surfer in jeans and a T-shirt, sits and nod in appreciation. An older man with a beard sits with his back against a tree, observing the crowd as it moves past him.
Inside, there is a smaller area that is separated from the main hall only by some bookcases and tables, giving the impression of a self contained room. There are many people there, sitting on metal chairs, arranged like a small theater. They all hold their attention on a middle aged skinny man that stands on a small stage as he speaks onto a microphone. The words that he speaks align with the noise, forming a kind of smooth verbal harmony with the endless conversation that resonates against the walls. A thin blonde woman, wearing a light flowery summer dress, is standing in the midst of the audience and she sings back at the speaker, repeating his words with high melodic flourishes. People applaud sporadically as the woman continues to sing and the man continues to speak. The rational subject of the speech has been lost but something else has been found and it now bounces back and forth between the man and his microphone and the open mouth and heart of the brave innocent singer. An invisible sphere surrounds them and sets them apart from the loud chaos all around. Each word from the man and each high note from the woman seem to expand out and curve around the sphere and give it substance and shape, a kind of almost perceptible translucent blue veil. A woman has noticed what is happening and with her eyes closed, admires their ethereal construction.

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