Life’s unseen moments are the glitter of mystery and enticement. They keep the imaginative edge razor sharp and our reach keen and hungry.
Unseen countries – and villages, towns, cities – have a hold over us: We long to see and experience them; but often half the fun lies in the long delay, the exciting build-up, the quality of jangling fear-delight which holds us in thrall so successfully.
This quality can cover most aspects of human life. The body of the man or woman we lust after has a piquancy and a freshness and a trembling limitlessness as long as it remains unseen. We can paint it any colour we want and arrange the important organs in our favourite states. We can create Amazonian forests of pubic hair and deltas of Venusian gorgeousness…
The places as yet unvisited gain a romantic edge, a perfection often quite at variance with reality: Unseen becomes synonymous with Eden, Paradise. The grass not yet viewed is always greener and more luscious than that we view every day.
This is all very well and good – and has an important role to play in the human psyche – but too much sighing and longing for the unseen can allow us to overlook the sensual reality of that which lies before our far-focused eyes: We can waste away in a capsule of idealism; we can assume that all we do not see must be good!
But I think this goes even deeper: Our assumptions about the unseen can so easily play into this whole veneration of the visual, especially, in bodily terms, the young and toned variety. We can look, that is to say, at the appearance on show and covered with material and be secretly certain that the inner matches the outer; that the naked form will please the eye as much, if not more, than the outer, clothing-draped, one.
And, of course, lurking within, forever unseen by the eyes, are the colours of the personality itself – and they may be far darker and more ominous than the outer shell might promise.
We can tremble at the thrill of the unseen – but, before we pull back the curtain and actually change unseen to seen, I think it behoves us to be sensible, to wait a moment, to ask ourselves if the apparent glister is really gold and to ensure that moving the prefix away does not become an act of turning over a dank and slimy stone!