While I was winding up at work on Tuesday night someone veiled the city. All the buildings and trees sat at a remove from me as I was walking to the car, behind a soft and pale film. Mosquito nets? No, the effect was too gentle to be associated with something even trivially threatening. Bridal veils? Dustcovers? I liked the idea of a city, quiet and still lit, but empty and covered in diaphanous white sheets against age and dust, as if it had been roofed over into a forgotten attic where nobody ever looked any more.
Or perhaps this: something had changed the stuff of the city, weakened it, and now in the wet air it was dissolving like an aspirin dropped into a big, clear glass of water. All the edges were burring and blurring and becoming feathered and flaky, every object more than a few paces away seemed to acquire a little halo as though it were shedding outer layers of itself. I imagined everything dissolving and combining, leaving a comet-tail of my own substance behind me through the whiteness, what was left of me becoming coated and mixing with the surface of the shopping mall (it would feel gritty and pallid, with a sub-texture of exhaust grime), the steel of the lamp-poles (my breath and saliva would take on a bright, metallic taste as this new stuff merged into me), the thick dark mulch of dead leaves on the little path beyond the carparks (perhaps the colour would seep into my bones, turn them the shade of old tea). Normally I see myself as something apart from streetscapes and thinking about dissolution and merging like this is a little distasteful – it makes me think of dying, rotting and fermenting. On a winter’s night in the chill and near-quiet it seemed more elegant, though, more serene.