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The New Bible Project

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Snow Angels [Feb. 28th, 2007|09:58 am]
The New Bible Project



Leaning back in my seat in the dust-filled cinema, I turned my head back a little involuntarily and glanced at the faces staring up at the screen, like rows of white masks for the flickering light to paint. Then I slowly returned to watching the screen - the people in front of me no longer disrupting the flow of the illusion - and sank back into the communal paralysis, and the common puppetry of facial emotions pulled unconsciously from the submerged mind.

Still as church mice, we watched the show, unblinkingly seeing lives unravelling and dying and being consummated in fiery triumph refined by irony and baptised in exploitative tears. The hero chased the heroine all over the screen and through a thin membrane of storyline and fast-moving obstacles that became vapid before his smouldering cliches. As we watched him save us we let the silence and the blackness around us seep into the backs of our minds, where the immovable and inabsorbant parts of ourselves lay. Remaining still, we watched the final flourish of lives unliveable for us before reluctantly, and a little grumpily as if being shaken from sleep, we submitted to the unflagging logic of the brightening lights and the ushers' plaster-cast smiles.

As I stepped out I saw them immediately, disparate from the passers-by because of the bleak and hollow light that shone within them. Their outlines were cut out of the cityscape behind them; one looked at me with eyes that were lamps in a far-off arcade, that shifted to leaves against the darkening sky as he moved - yet somehow the features remained. He shook his beautiful wings, etched in a shop window display, and calmly they turned their heads full of street-light halos and walked on.

I narrowed my gaze: I felt if I could somehow place the light that always shone in them, like sunlight flowing in a heat-wave, then I could have vouchsafed a measure of eternity, a frozen fragment of an ebbying river. A fat man, with globular cheeks and a steep, broad brow, knocked over a lady and hurried on regardless to where his comfortable armchair was projected onto the dimming horizon. I thought, we are blind because we are fleshed out: we are blind because we cannot see through ourselves to see others. I picked the lady up off the ground and with tearing eyes lost myself in the swell of humanity, and the course systems that must aid the sightless.