the silver man fell down the stairs slowly and the lights affixed at regular one-meter intervals all the way along the wall reflected off his rotating body as he fell, and his flailing, twisting limbs sent rays of it further down into the room and up against the ceiling in flickering patterns. his falling made no sound, as if the stairs were thickly carpeted, muffling every impact. it was, however, impossible to tell what material the stairs were made from.
the falling was slow, and the light flying around was quick, which in its combination created an odd sensation in the witnesses. the witnesses were in their mid to late thirties, most of them on a slow emerge from the jadedness of their youth and beginning to sense the futility of their posturing in the face of the rapidly decreasing flexibility in their limbs, and the quickly fading glow in their skins, and the sudden proximity of death. mortality was now a reality, and no amount of coolness, or appreciation from their peers, would save them from this.
the witnesses felt like rats, a feeling from which the falling silver man gave them momentary relief. his smooth silver skin reflected the light in a way that was very different to the light-reflecting abilities of glitter, something the witnesses had favoured back in their twenties, when their features were clearer, their skins more clearly delineated and taut, when glitter could be worn on a face more forgiving of what was stuck onto it. compared to light hitting glitter, the silver skin sent out rays in a calm, flat way, even though it was quick. there was a soft precision, rather than the frantic messy interspersed ness of glitter.
the silver skin was different, too, than light bouncing off a swimming pool. there were no soft waves projected onto the ceiling in regular shivers. it was, furthermore, utterly unlike the spotty streaks painted on the wallpaper by disco balls. there was nothing like it, the witnesses decided, and it made them pay attention: they were witness to something unique, which meant they themselves were unique, and this caused their ears to perk up and their eyes to require less blinking.
this was a moment, a real one, the kind they so often read about in books worshipping the magic of youth, and saw in films whose soundtracks were meant to make one nostalgic for a time that never was. this real moment of a silver man falling slowly down the stairs in stunned silence while his skin reflected the light of the room back into itself in totally original patterns was, the witnesses knew, an act of true life, and they were intent on capturing it.
they weren’t yet sure what they would do with it once they had captured it, but what mattered was being totally present for it, being there, whatever that meant. the witnesses weren’t sure, actually, if they were being present now, if they were present enough, if they were doing it correctly.
but it was important to try, try harder. this was the moment that, in the future, they would refer back to and tell themselves they had truly lived, truly been awake for. it was the sort of memory that would soothe their minds when they were frantic with suspicions that they had wasted their time on this earth by thinking about living more than actually living, that subtle performance that eluded them all so much.
it would be a moment to tell others about, though they knew already they would fail to put it into the right words. it saddened them that it might not be within their abilities to accurately relate this moment to others after it had passed, but what other way was there to make sure this moment lived past the one after it? the falling was fleeting and they knew it, so they increased the width between their lids to the maximum level and for as many seconds as they could bear they ceased to breathe.