September 25, 2008

In the City of Expectation

I had arrived ... to visit a woman friend. Her house, the city, the language were unfamiliar to me. Nobody was expecting me; no one knew me. For two hours I walked the streets in solitude.

Never again have I seen them so. From every gate a flame darted; each cornerstone sprayed sparks, and every streetcar came toward me like a fire engine. For she might have stepped out of the gateway, around the corner, been sitting in the streetcar. But of the two of us, I had to be, at any price, the first to see the other. For had she touched me with the match of her eyes, I would have gone up like a powder keg.

--Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street