It was during an extremely chilling December, and no matter how many layers I wrapped around myself, the cold always managed to find its way to my bones. It was my first time in New York and my first time staying in another country, without family. I was renting out an apartment in a dingy section of lower Manhattan, or rather; my parents were renting it, and I was occupying it. Everything was the same color in that neighborhood; it was the kind of dirty gray that gets swept up into the air of long forgotten basements and warehouses. In addition to the lack of color, there were absolutely no stairs to get to my apartment; I was as far down as you could get without going underground.
His hands were up against his face, which was distorted and scarred, and his breath came in a long slow billow of white haze. His hood was pulled up over his head casting a dark veil across his face. He stared right at me for at least 10 seconds before dropping his gaze. Forthwith he turned around and shuffled out into the snow.
I stared out the window blankly for some time before attempting to rationalize his presence at there. The apartment contained nothing that anyone would want. My only, somewhat valuable possessions included an extremely old camera (that had definitely seen better days), and an equally old laptop. There was no TV, no radio, not even a decent pair of shoes. I was sure he figured that out after taking one glance inside the apartment. In any event, coming from one of the safest cities in the world, and being completely submerged in the midst of New York culture was extremely exhilarating, and I was constantly surprised by what I saw around me. Taking this into consideration, I tried to forget about the man, despite his strange appearance outside my window. Although the task seemed relatively easy at the time, it became evident that this was not so.
Every morning, as I boiled the water for my tea, and threw away the remains of the previous nights take out, I saw him. He would just stare at me, and then leave, never saying, or doing, anything different. As I was thinking back on this experience, and I realized how extremely surreal it was, especially when its put it into words; each morning I was sharing a “moment” with a complete stranger. A stranger with a dreadfully distorted face and rat like fingers, and yet, too my surprise, I was perfectly fine doing so. In all honesty, it was the most intimacy I had gotten all year.
It wasn’t until the last night of my stay that I noticed a break in his pattern. I was editing some footage that had been gathered earlier that day, when something caught my eye at the window. Suspiciously glancing over, I was in no shock to find the strange man standing right outside. Cautiously I shuffled off the bed and stood upright, never letting my gaze stray from his. Slowly, I inched closer and closer towards the window, the light of the moon exposing a sliver of his face. Intrigued, I explored the wonders of his scars in this new light, the light of dusk; so much more forgiving than that of dawn… The clouds shifted, and ironically, the moonlight revealed more than the sun ever could. For a split second, I could see the man he truly was, an innocent man shrouded by misfortune and affliction, sentenced to a life in complete...