Utterances –Part 1–

By Gabriela Ripper Naigeborin ’19

Gabriella Pt1 Illustration (2)


It is not that I was not invisible already. It was smoother then, precisely because I went unnoticed. I would lurk in open sight and sigh – no one saw me. I would think disturbing thoughts and gracefully contort my lips in a smile – no one knew it. My secret state of being gave me pleasure and comfort, but I am now still too ashamed to let myself feel pleasure, and it is all too fresh for me to walk without holding my breath. I am as invisible as I was before, but this time I perceive my surroundings. The leaves falling from the trees smell of a fleeting red and when I crush them under my feet I listen to the sound they make. Most importantly, the people around me are not invisible. On the contrary, they are too visible. Their traits are foreign and local, and all are foreign to me for I am not a local. Their eyes don’t turn to me and yet I bind them with my invisible gaze, and the weight of that gaze ties me to them. I cannot move. I cannot ignore.


Last week I took my first tango lesson. I learned by force that if you are not comfortable, your partner feels it. If he feels it, you know it. You know it, you cannot move. You should never be aware of your partner, of the thin layers of air separating chest from chest, heart from heart, human from human, or else you cannot move and those layers will become full bodies, another person even. I tango all the time here, with the same skill I tangoed during those seventy-five minutes: stumbling around.


I am invisible because I am altogether present, and because my surroundings are too present for me to bear. It still feels like this is all to-be, but time tricks me and this future that should always be away is condensed in the now. It is too dense, and weighs too much. I saw it coming, but I never saw it come. When it came, I neglected it. My surroundings do not seem definitive yet, and this is precisely what grants them such concreteness. Their shapes and colors and textures I do not know; they are unfamiliar so I savor them from side to side, not holding back the fact that their tastes elude me, never holding in my ambivalent frowns.