I did these drawings one night down in Disneyworld, in a cafe in Tomorrowland. Strange word, Tomorrowland. As if Today and its Land were not enough. This is where I saw this man eating fries and reading his book, and had a great time drawing the hell out of him. I projected loneliness on to him, creating an entire story around this poor guy who was just sitting there minding his own business. Of course, it was probably me who was the lonely one out of the two of us. But this is what artists do. They make up stories that are complete lies, but that tap into a bigger Truth...
The story goes:
The Man Alone sat in the Galaxy Terrace of Tomorrowland. He was situated under a lamp—a spotlight of solitude—that shadowed his aging face, the slope of his body. A hefty elbow propped up his head on one side, letting the other side hang. His eyelids fell in layers, moving softly back and forth as he read. I noticed him sneak sideways glances to his watch. He must be waiting for someone, I thought. Perhaps he was taking a break from his exhaustive kin, from the inexhaustible Florida sun. He read with no intent, checking his watch repeatedly. Someone must be meeting him. But no one came.
It was awhile before I realized that he was indeed alone—in a park full of families. This thought struck me as—lonelier than hell, too lonely to think about—and I busied myself with my drawings of him.
There he sat with his tray of food and his book. He alternated between taking voracious bites of a hot dog and the lazy turning of gray pages. Every now and then, the Man Alone would look up and around with lazy disinterest, ruminate on the arm of his glasses, then return to the task at hand. His fries took deep dips into ketchup before being devoured...I couldn’t tell where the fries ended and his fingers began.
At that point, I'd just about finished with my interpretations of him (and had just about enough of watching him eat), and turned my attention to the drawing of other people. I forgot about the Man Alone. Then I looked back, and he was gone. Finally, he must have reunited with his family—his grand kids reporting, with incomprehensible excitement, the day’s events in his fuzzy ear.
Then, I spotted him. He hadn't moved far, just to the other side of the terrace to see the fireworks that were about to begin. That’s why the Man Alone came to the park tonight. Perhaps a few flares of distraction from sheer loneliness. Or celebration at being alone, I’ll never know. I was waiting for some spark in the darkness. The last thing I saw before I left were the little wisps of hair on the crown of his head illuminated by bright dots of sky.
©2005 C. Noruzi