The man was half-naked, his bronze chest streaked with drying mud, “Ayeeeeeeeeeeeee!” he screamed, throwing his arms in the air, “I don’t want this! I don’t want it.” He collapsed in a heap, folding awkwardly upon himself like some abandoned puppet.
I watched him from my balcony, as a theatre-goer might watch a thespian. Then, the reality of it—of him—needled its way into my emotional fabric. I looked east, down the long front side of my apartment building, and saw heads emerging from windows and other beings stepping onto terraces to stare at this man wrapped in terror and pain and sadness.
His crumpled form sat below me, perhaps ten feet away and I could see his back swell and deflate under his breath.
A stillness invaded the courtyard and a silence crept out of the madness of the world and appeared to be moving toward him, hunting for him. He wailed and the guttural, inchoate sounds that came out of him seemed dredged up from some darker, primordial day.
I shuddered but continued watching.
He breathed, sucking air over his teeth and again let out that aborted, primeval noise… he drew in another breath and again returned his torment to the world…
Slowly, out of this repetition a rhythm was born and these methodic sobs crashed forth like great waves tugged from the sea by the moon.
It seemed he cried for all of us and tethered his tears to our souls through the enchanting sound of that sad mantra.
I sighed deeply and withdrew, but I will never forget the weeping man.