Behind Curtains

The book I’m currently reading is called “The Secret Life of Citizens”. It’s a very good book, but I have to admit that I haven’t quite understood its title, yet. In another book by the same author I found the following beautiful quote:

And sitting on the St. Germain des Prés I would sometimes think about South Chicago, and how it was really a much more romantic place than I’d thought, and how much the South Side was like the Left Bank, and how, most of all, it was such a secret city … and how everything that changes the world, or breaks our hearts, must always start out from a secret city.

Secrecy is such an immense and fascinating topic. Being raised in a Lutheran protestant family, though, I’ve never been too familiar with it. We are the people who, like the Dutch, live a life that ideally knows of no curtains.

Recently someone told me the story of a man who, during work hours, suffered from a heart attack. Instead of calling for an ambulance or a doctor he rushed out of the office and dragged himself all across the city, back to his far-away apartment. He may have seen his death coming. What was it that he didn’t want people to find out that was more important than saving his life?

Made me think that we should measure our lifes – at least partly – by the quality of our secrets.