a thing i wrote for a writing thing.
When I first met Kacper Niburski, I thought he’d speak about himself a lot. I imagined the type of writer who used the third person often, got a kick of referring himself as a character, and who would say, after reading a piece that’d drag on far too long with sentences that seemed to be longer, that he wasn’t actually a writer, thus referring to himself in the third person again.
It wasn’t an air of pretentiousness as it was the lack of it, as though you had to fill in the space around him for want of something, anything. He was blank – that’s the best way to describe it, walking in with a bag hanging like an open mouth from his shoulder. His sweater was stained above the abdomen. Mustard maybe. He was wearing sweatpants. His glasses were slanted, uneven, a fact that probably self-perpetuated itself, reached a critical mass, then were fixed – or better said, left faulty – with his fingers. They were uninteresting, plain, a bit scabbed but no more than anyone else’s.
But those dried cuts were him and they might’ve been deep and might’ve even come from the inside like a worm to the morning. I don’t know. He didn’t give much indication then, with an introduction of his name with its hard emphasis on the r, forgetting to mention his program of study, and a gaff about wanting to write and write more about wanting to write. No one laughed. Only he did, a sort-of surprised look spreading across his face like a spill from a coffee cup that has fallen onto carpet. His red lips were wet with him.
Then he went on, time going along with him, me only seldom following the trail. He was confusing. Each week he wrote abstract thoughts and statements that seemed intentionally incomplete. Much of it was bereft in detail. Something about his dad, his brother, a friend. Sometimes about him too. There was a piece about a girlfriend in the pile also. What did he say? I don’t remember.
It’s not that it wasn’t all memorable because it was in the same way the first time you drank beer is or got a haircut or washed a dog. You just forget eventually. And while he read, I forgot all that was happening and listened to him, looking at him, wondering what was broken and when it was. He read fast. Continuously. First sentence tied to the last in a single breath. It was like he didn’t want to stop or didn’t want to start or couldn’t because he felt that there were no such ends anyways, just the moment after that beer or haircut or dog. Other instances to remember, other things to forget too.
It was here, though, in the hum of the lights of the circular room with its slightly off-centre opaque sun-roof and its touchless white walls, its chairs too straight, and its location shelved away, almost stored as a secret, where he expressed all he could and couldn’t in equal parts. His voice flattened. His eyes never raised. And he sat there shedding the bland Kacper I thought into a Kacper I could never know, a Kacper he seemed not to know all that much either.
It was more than the usual twenty-something’s abyss or a sense of loss in a generation that was made to feel small hand worn apocalypses daily from climate change to job prospects to the decline in the arts or whatever. Too much of his writing centered around weeping. Too much of it left one sad and displaced.
Part of me thinks the whole shtick was made up, a fictional portrayal of that same first Kacper I met who would write himself into a story to become a story. But there’s another part, a smaller intuition that whispers it wasn’t. That it all happened. That he had a point. And that he wasn’t trying to be morose. Weeping, I think he wanted to make me feel, is salvation. It is you being you to ensure you can still be you later on.
It doesn’t make much sense and I’m sorry for sounding a lot like Kacper in that respect. Those tears he mentioned must’ve made the floor slippery and made me crash onto my head. That’d be something to cry about.
Anyways, I hope the best for him, even if I feel I never got to know him and whether he hopes for hope. I hope too that he remains incomprehensible. It is his best quality. I’m not sure what I mean by that sentence again but I think it proves my point more.