by Zolton in New Illustration on Thursday 6 December 2007

I was rulking (half-run; half-walk) through the inner city a little while back, killing time and thoughts with mindless banter (yes, one way conversations have their benefits) when I noticed a grown man crying hysterically on the opposite side of the road to me. He was probably in his early-thirties, slightly disheveled and seemingly oblivious to his surrounds. It was a disconcerting sight – raw emotion revealed in the full glare of the midday sun. But who knows what calamitous news he may have just received; what heart wrenching decision had just changed the course of his life. Part of me wanted to turn and run as if I’d never seen it. A bigger part of me wanted to go up to him, give him a hug and open my heart up to the truth of his tears. In the end I did neither and simply continued on down the road, leaving him to his grief; and his grief to my conscience. Yes, tiny imperfections, a window to the soul. The Ancient Greeks knew it, the Babylonians knew it. Heck, even Leonard Cohen knows it. ‘Ring the bells that still can ring’, he said, ‘forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’. It got me thinking about the austere nature of modern society, about our collective shudder at the sight of unbridled emotion. I pass a thousand strangers every day, each one of them as faceless as the next. But perhaps I should pause for a moment and look them square in the eye, slowly peeling away their onion layers of skin to reveal the living, breathing person within. [illustrations by Yuko Shimizu]
yuko shimizu