"Letter for a Stranger"
Exhibition text for Andrťanne Godin's Memorial for a Stranger.
2011


Andrťanne Godin's Derwent Anniversary Watercolour Box

My wife, my friend, my beloved. Sheís gone. This morning, she isnít here any more. Or has it been three months already, or six. She left so quickly she couldnít take everything with her. She left me everything: the memory of a smile, the scent of vanilla, the warmth of an awakening, a box of watercolour pencils. I donít know what to do with them, except make a catastrophe of them. Where have her colourful dreams gone, I wonder, her invented landscapes. Would she want them to remain in a small lacquered box, or would she want somebody to find them in her stead. Nobody I know sees life as she does, understands that things do not keep, that they wear down, take on new faces. This morning I decided to let them go. I had tried once before, but hadnít found someone to give them to. I gave it all to one who looked deep into my eyes. I saw her from afar: a tall blond, as strong and beautiful as she had been. A tall girl with sad, tired eyes. A tall girl who could understand what I was talking about. I went to her and gave her everything. I didnít let her ask questions. I forced her to take my words and I turned away and left her there. I could not risk regret.

My father, my friend, my child. Heís gone. This morning, he was no longer there. Since when, I donít know any more. I couldnít retrace the steps, or find the dividing line. I donít want to. A man came up to me to say he understood me. I took in his words. I couldnít utter a single one myself, tell him he was mistaken. He looked too sure of himself, too sad, too serene. I wondered if he, too, was on the verge of dying, or if he was already dead from having over-possessed his prior life. I just stood there, with the box resting in my open hands. I saw him move away, and I had already forgotten his name, his face. I opened the box for the first time after he left. I knew it wasnít for me. I thought it should have been given to somebody else. Someone who could imagine beautiful colourful images. I donít need to see them. I would prefer to capture them on camera. I will photograph them, before they disappear along with him and sink into the moist earth.

I found a box of watercolour pencils on my desk this morning. Or has it already been six months, or five years. There are some presents we donít know what to do with; they just exist. Thatís quite enough as it is, until they make us utter a cry of joy, of sadness, of despair. And then we regret not having done anything. Not having honoured anotherís desire. I opened the drawers, once, twice, three and a thousand times. To look at colours that were not my own. I dragged them around, wore them down, scratched them. I need to let them go. They need to live, to exhaust themselves, to be effaced and thus liberated from themselves, to liberate me from the mission given me by a stranger.


Exhibition text written for Andrťanne Godin's Memorial for a Stranger, presented at Concordia University's FoFA Gallery, from September 6 to October 7, 2011.

- Translated by Ron Ross