Written by: A’Shaatha Sultan
That Type of Smile with Melancholic Eyes
Josette Roland was a woman of a light-colored skin, a slender nose and almond-shaped eyes. Her dimpled blushing cheeks, at moments of laughter, always shone dazzlingly and left my day at ease. She wasn’t of extreme beauty; actually nothing was really special in her physical appearance; maybe except for the mole she had above her lip on her cheeks. It was certainly unique and pleasant to gaze at. Two things were distinguishing her style: a colorful scarf around her neck and a red lipstick. I have always had this feeling that she is hiding a secret behind that joyful face. I haven’t bothered to ask about it, for I know she will giggle at my wild thoughts.
The first time we met was at an art exhibition. In her white floating dress and rainbow-colored scarf she was fluttering across all sides of the room, not forgetting to stop at each portrait and express a sense of admiration, a critical thought or a studious analytical idea. I was right next to her, stating my opinion about a portrait we were observing and perhaps I was also trying to impress her, when I said: “Such meticulous drawn lines of those blue jeans that old man’s wearing, have you noticed?” she only smiled and nodded. I, for being a shy man, haven’t said a word after that. I just kept on watching her move gently around the room then going away leaving a pleasant scent in the place.
She left, but since then her image has never left my mind. I felt there was something mysterious and unexpectedly secretive about her. I didn’t know why or how she was such a delight to my eyes, but she just was.
Few months have passed. I was walking down the street observing it as I usually do. Everything seemed to be brighter, glowingly vivid and rich in color. The trees on both sides were taller and greener while the houses seemed more welcoming and colorful than they usually do. Even the people who were passing by seemed friendlier and greeted me with joy. There was a warm impression of childish amusement that awakened my soul. I couldn’t understand what has changed until I saw her walking in her casual elegant clothes. I knew her at once, and in my delight I thought she recognized me, but she didn’t. Our eyes met, I smiled. Then, gathering all the courage I could have, I said: “Hi, my name is Victor Knowles and we met at an art exhibition few months ago.” My heart pulse was beating as fast as the speed of a hummingbird’s wings. She smiled a mesmerizing smile and said: “Hi Mr. Knowles, it’s funny I can’t remember you. Nice meeting you, well, again, I guess!” I overcame my shyness, seized the opportunity and didn’t hesitate to ask her further questions.
Since then our relationship grew stronger. Still, I couldn’t reveal the secret she was hiding, or so I was convinced. When she wore red lipstick, she tells me: “you know Victor; red makes me feel confident, makes me feel perfect.” My answer was always the same: “but you are perfect!” She would then smile; that type with melancholic eyes.
It was her birthday. I went over her apartment without informing her that I was coming. I wanted to surprise her with my gift which was a navy scarf – the only color she didn’t have. I entered slowly walking on the tip of my toes trying not to make a noise. I intended to put the scarf on the table and leave.
There she was, sleeping, wearing a sleeveless shirt. There it was, the secret I have always felt existed. Part of her chest was burnt and her breast was enucleated; it was breast cancer in the process of recovery. I left as I came, in silence – only shocked.
I saw her later on that day and I smiled; that type with melancholic eyes.
- “What’s wrong Victor? You’re not normal today?”
- “Nothing’s wrong my dear Josette, but you are perfect – even without the red lipstick and the colorful scarf”
فأجاب: «بوسعنا العيش دون مَلكة النظر سبعين عامًا دون أن نهلك، ولا نقدر أن نعيش سبعين يومًا دون الرغيف، ولم يقل أحدٌ لهذا إن الرغيفَ أهمُّ من البصر. وبتقييم السوق: الرغيفُ أرخصُ من الكتاب، والتمثالُ أغلَى من الثوب. فقيمةُ الشيء لا تتعلق بقدر الحاجة إليه، بل بقدر ما نصبح عليه إذا حصَّلناه. فتحصيلُنا الرغيفَ يساوينا بسائر الأحياء، ولكنْ تحصيلُنا الجمالَ لا يجعلُنا أحياءً وحسب، بل يجعلنا بشرًا ممتازين فى أمَّة ممتازة، تُحِسُّ وتُحسنُ التعبيرَ عن إحساسها. الضروراتُ توكلُنا بالأدنَى من مراتب الحياة، أما الذي يرفعنا إلى الأوج من طبقات الإنسان، فهو الفنون».
أرض الهوى العذري ما ارتحلت الا إليها رعشة الهدب
والاغنيات الخضر ما نزلت إلا على ينبوعها العذب
لم يستفق ذو جانح طرب الا بفيئ نهارها الطرب
أفديك بالايام لم تشب أفديك بالاقمار لم تغب
أفدي صباك الّشهم مقتحما ليل الردى بالساعد الثرب
منحوتة كروية نُقشت على سطحها مئة كلمة عربية مرادفة لكلمة “الحب”، وينبعث نور من داخل الكرة ليلقي ظلال الكلمات على الجدران والمارة. عمل الفنانة المصرية غادة عامر، معرض محكيٌ مخفيٌ مُعاد في قطر.
Here’s to my unconscious mind telling me whom I want to be, to all the people I wanna be, all the lives I wanna live. Here’s to my alter ego.
Here’s to the unloved ones in the world, who would quite naturally spread hatred. To the spark in your universes, to the light within you.
Here’s to the souls who haven’t yet lost their wander and amazement, to the first object that attracted their curiosity, to the first breath.
Here’s to the hearts craving for the beautiful unknown. To the hope in the future, even when the door is shut and the light is dead.
Here’s to the unfamiliar penetrating its way out of blocked graves, to the stranger searching for a glimpse of an astray truth.
Photographer Stephan Wilkes’ Project “Day to Night”
He spends 15 hours up in the air — without any bathroom breaks, we might add — shooting around 1,400 individual photographs throughout that time. His eyes constantly scan the area, looking for the changing light and for interesting characters who enter the scene.
After capturing his pile of photos, he spends a whopping 4 months post-processing them and combining them into a single photograph.