Scratchings on the Walls

Names, I see names everywhere. Like little handprints of those who came by before, they are token of their owner’s passage. On walls, train windows, toilets or bar tables. Scratchings are everywhere. Like a cheap graffiti, people leave them everywhere for us to find. I felt at first they all said the same thing, beyond names and drawings they scream “I was here”. But the more I look the lesser I believe this to be the only truth. After hours of staring at names, hearts and phallus being drawn in a shitty urinal, I learned their truest meaning. I can see the curves of each letter and understand them to be a song, songs of the lives of their owners. Some say “I was alive”, others “I was in love”. Really if we look deeper into these spurts of madness the lives these people led appears. The hardships and new beginnings, the heartaches and new relationships. Everything reflects in the simplicity or complexity of their handwriting. Some indicate a careful hand, others a drunken one. Frozen in time their name reside next to so many, and yet each one stands out. Not a single one will be left unread tonight, and none will be left unheard. The ugliness of rough markings made by drunk hands touches me. It appeals to my self-intoxication and self-depravation. Not all resemble such depravity, some passionately written, tell the tales of different tones, probably portraying a love that has already ended. But none of what happened next interest me, what fascinates and captures my interest is the present, their present. How they all scream a universal truth. Yes, all their meanings differ, but it is the act itself behind their creations which reveals the most human action of them all. Simply to show they existed, that they were alive. Insuring the tradition that our furthest ancestors started in caves. Not simply to show we exist, but deciding that it matters. Placing their hands on a wall and knowing, that someday someone very much like them is going to see it and understand. A statement of what makes us strong, a sentiment of belonging.

So the next time you see scratchings on a surface you think has been vandalised. Remember this: “We are nothing more than a name on a wall, destined to be erased by time”. When all we ever have is the present, let us not ridicule ourselves in petty ventures. Let us live truly and freely, in the present.

And so tonight I will drunkenly scratch my name on bar tables, urinals and windows. All this, as to simply say “I too, am alive”.