He knew what the many details at the bottom of the road map meant, and he always help the map so that north was at the top. Up north was where Una wanted to go. Things usually ended up with Mono taking over the navigation – or, indeed, the repairs.

Mono could convert between different currencies in his head; Una simply asked the waiter. Mono knew how many kilometers he could travel with the tank on reserve; Una, on the other hand, had sometimes been forced to wait at the roadside with an empty tank, though it was never long before a man stopped to help her out.

Mono loved devices for measuring and working things out. He knew how many liters in a gallon, how many inches in a foot, and what that would mean in centimeters. Una, on the other hand, was always aware of exactly how much she weighed – whether in kilos, pounds or stone.

For Mono, numbers had a kind of cabalistic, magical draw. Though they were abstract, it was possible to depict them precisely on the page. Whether contour lines on maps, the depths of the sea or the length of the scale on the barometer: Numbers had meaning, and the written representation of numbers had a special graphical appeal. What’s more, the scales featured on Mono’s pocket square and scarf let him check things whenever and whenever he needed to: The size of the menu (was it bigger than A4?), the height of Una’s heels, and everything else that was of significance for the measurement of the world.

He was focussed to the area in front of his eyes. Despite of his dynamic movements he rested in himself.
Once they got accustomed to the quietness in the room, they noted that it was not completely silent. When the paintbrush touched the paper and streaked about in long, equal verves, there was a noise. With the length of the verve the sound changed. First, when the paintbrush was full of paint, one heard hardly anything. But with the continuation of the movement, the noise became clearer. In the end of each verve it increased in intensity. The firm bristles of the paintbrush generated a scratchy sound. In between his feet gently touching the stone ground in front of his large painting table. The large paper sheet laid loose on it and undulated more and more, the more paint the brush left behind on it.
It was peculiar to attend the creation of such kinds of pictures they had seen a few days ago in the gallery. There they were static. Depending on the motive archaic and strong, few wide brushstrokes. Other lighter, thinner strokes, slackening courses. But now the perspective changed. The static partition of space on a large paper sheet was the result of dynamic activity. It were frozen movements.
Like spellbound Una and Mono followed this spectacle. They could not say how long they had stood at the door. At first only concentrating on the paintings, they started to let their eyes wander around the studio after a while. A large, high room with a continuous window front to the North. Evenly, soft light gave all objects a surreal aura. Far in the distance they could hear the noises of the city and remembered that they were still in New York City.
“How long have you been standing here to observe me?” Unexpectedly, but without any harshness, his voice cut the noisy silence of the studio. With outstretched arms he came toward them. “Una, Mono, that you really came!” They heartily hugged one another, as he had been friends with Mono for a long time. And Una now belonged to it.

A hot summer day in August, outdoors to hot and indoors to cold – it was as full as everywhere in this large, narrow city. Una simply wanted to drink a coffee and read a book. The only »nice coffee shop« she could find after two hours was overcrowded. In front of the shop already was a small crowd of people. Surely it must be good. She queued up and reckoned with a longer waiting, when a young waitress approached. »Okay to share? « »Yes. « She wanted to get away of the muggy heat into the artificial cool. Una was led into the indoors of the restaurant and brought to a table already occupied by a man. A western man. She could have thought this previously … She ordered.
He recognized her by her accent, and she recognized him by his big grin. In Hong Kong, Una and Mono met for the first time.
Mono travelled alone in order to discover himself. This was the first journey he took alone, and he had chosen Hong Kong as destination. A mega-city in Asia, about it he did not know much. A city with so many people, where one surely could not feel lonely. Here in the exotic strangeness he hoped to have new encounters. The greatest of all should be the encounter with himself.
It was the last day of his travel. A hot, sunny day in August. He settled down in a coffee shop in order to observe people. He got a table for himself only for a little bit, when a young western woman was brought to his place. The waitress asked by pure courtesy: »Okay to share? « »Yes. «
He did not believe in destiny. But he was ready to be convinced of the contrary. Now he observed not the exotic, strange crowd, but his female table neighbour, and her facial features seemed to him familiar but new. He dared the first step and spoke to her. He introduced himself. It was exactly what Una had feared. An interesting table neighbor from the back home.
At first she only answered to his questions. But soon she felt, that for the first time in the past month someone took an interest in her. He seemed to be a good observer and a good teller. Mono described his amazement about this surreal metropolis. The great many people. The labyrinth of high-rise buildings which hold out towards the sky.
Una had up to now rather stayed away from the urban life, within the nature. Far away from the shopping malls, she had explored the mountains, walked along the ocean and defied sun and rain. Mono perceived Una’s changes during the chat. While she first had answered his questions only by pure courtesy, she seemed to have changed her mind during the conversation. Now she told alive about her Hong Kong.
Within the conversation, they explored and discovered the city once again. They added their experiences and perceptions with the view of the other. Time was flying and they wanted to hold it on. The coffee time was over, and so they walked together to the Dim Sum restaurant. One of these restaurants, where the order was done only with graphic characters to tick. Both had not yet trusted to do this. They ticked a pattern on the note and thought thereby of a lottery ticket. Two mouthful of tea were filled into their cups each time when they had only one. They were in the city which never keeps silent, and also in this restaurant it was loud and frantic. But at this evening, it did not disturb them. The Cantonese of the neighbor tables was only a soundscape of their chat. An acoustic place statement of their encounter.
It was Mono’s last evening in Hong Kong. The first airplane shortly after midnight should bring him back home. They made an appointment with Dim Sum and butterflies in their stomach. They did not change numbers, fixed only a place and a time for their next encounter in another city, in another time zone.

But as Una had insisted on this manner of parting company, he had not had a choice. On his return flight from Hong Kong he had sufficient time to think about all this, to sadly remember the cheerful meeting, to arrange his thoughts and to interpret the feelings. Only after several days Mono had been able to make heads or tails of it. Una had been travelling alone due to a conscious decision. She had wanted to arrange things which needed to be arranged. Quite contrary to him, she had not expected in secret an encounter, THE encounter, during her travel. Consequently she managed to release again. She even had to do so in order to give the proper sense to her travel. For this reason he could finally put up with it and calm his gnawing worries.
Una was satisfied with the evening. Now – at the end of her travel – finally one with herself. An encounter – well, maybe even THE encounter. And she had gone away with only a place and a time. A triumph over her own inner reflex which had told her to create supposed safety on basis of the numerical order of a phone number. For sure, they would meet again. And it would become a festival. It should happen that way. They had been talking to each other during an evening without really knowing each other. Therefore a fulminant setting for common experiences was required. And a place which could ease her disappointment, should Mono not appear on the scene in time, should her intuition prove to be nothing but an illusion. “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” – this exactly had to be it. New York! Either the stage for a festival or the setting for the blues.
The date at the Gallery Opening on this evening was not randomly chosen. The evening in Hong Kong had been much thousand words long. Associations had been flying, words had trigged pictures and pictures new words. Like under a spell they had followed each other, while common passions had become evident within short. Art was an elixir of life for both of them. On the other hand, they had already seen too much for being enthusiastic about something just being claimed as “art”. The more thrilling was Mono’s description of a gallery where only illustrations and sculptures would be shown. The perfect place for a blind date which would be far more than just a blind date. Could one call a second encounter a blind date? As on the other hand this second meeting was the first real date, they had left it at it. A very particular atmosphere was already prevailing in the street in front of the gallery. But it was impossible to say whether this was due to the place itself or to the purpose it had been selected for: being the screen for a common picture in intense colours. The question was whether this picture would cope with the sketches of endless projections of the previous days. But prior to this anxiously and longingly expected reply the moment was experienced.
Hipstercrowds, citynoisesmusicvoicestangle, fashionpicturesculptureprojectionsflickering, motionhustlebustlemetropolisdynamic. And then this moment. Heartbeatdiscoverfrighteningmeeting. Una. Mono.
Only at the second place of their second common evening the inebriation created by pictures, words, events, stories slowly arrived at a rhythm which could have been followed by any other person except Una and Mono. By the time they had arrived at the lucullan epicentre of New York. The restaurant was the opening of the month, desired and booked like no other place in the city. How they had managed to pass the queue at the door could not be explained with arguments. It had to be due to their glowing which would have opened all doors to them on this evening. As they were the couple of couples, it was quite natural that this place of all places was theirs. It was just as irrespective as impossible to decide whether the cocktails and the food were really as good as they tasted. The barkeeper, waiters and sommeliers seemed to circle around them, which was probably really like this. During these hours spent in their world there simply was no other possibility.
The city had proved to be the only right place for their encounter. The evening could not fade away at another place as in the Central Park. In some moments kitsch does not feature a category. A horse-drawn carriage is nothing but a horse-drawn carriage and the only suitable vehicle in this moment. So it was – the perfect moment. Trees, silhouettes of houses, flaneurs and cyclists passed them, being the scenery of this evening’s wonder. The beginning of a long common travel.

There, where she had believed to find the stairs to the Secession building with perhaps a few visitors, she saw an enormous crowd that surrounded the whole building. How should she find Mono in this chaos? She already wanted to grab her phone in order to call him and to suggest another place, since she was somewhat earlier in time. Early enough to change their plan. But while she was thinking, she walked on and approached closer to the complex and the crowd. What presented itself step by step to her glances was quite unexpected.

Not only did the crowd circle dynamically around the building just like a procession – thereunder were absolutely idiosyncratic clothed creatures – hats were borne, gowns and tailcoats. Her curiosity awakened and Una approached more. At first glance it could have been a wedding party, but with closer look the figures seemed as ripped out of the period and their grotesque parade did not make any sense. Beards, tailcoats, top hats and evening dresses – a strange round dance. The closer Una came, the more the density of the impressions imprisoned her. A murmur, the clicking of hundreds of heels on the pavement, calls, laughter, a whirring and buzzing. Una was spellbound and moved somnambulisticly towards the crowd.

His heart almost hurtled and he was not sure what speeded up the hurtling more – his restless running between all this idiosyncratic jumping and dancing creatures, or the incredible pictures which condensed more and more from moment to moment. While Mono at first amusedly believed to join a historic costume society, he caught his breath in the face of some unsettling apparitions. Figures which seemed only too well-known from his reading about the famous frieze of the Secession. But where was Una? This was definitively the wrong place to meet. Out, away from here! But this round dance did not at all develop centrifugal forces despite of his dynamic rotation, on the contrary, an escape seemed quite impossible.

Whenever he turned away from one figure, another one linked arms and drew him to the centre. As dervishes they danced around him, with him or he with them? Mono was no longer able to think clearly. Incomprehensible it was, but not frightening. It had something completely incredible, but seemed at the same moment completely natural. Involved in the strange hustle, himself part of the circle of that fabulous creatures, it hardly was a wonder to see also the sculptures and pictures of the house vividly enqueued into the parade. He lurched, jumped and ran further and further and disappeared finally in the surging crowd.

Silence. For the first time silence. And standstill. Finally – since complete indefinite time. Like the waking up from a dream – now all was right. How they had found each other, and why they stood together between the greenery and blossoms was completely unimportant. It was calm, the air mild and the light soft. In their heads yet a slight hissing like simply after a celebration with loud music. An echo of the fantastic which would elude itself from telling. Too incredible it had been, and even the own memory could not be trusted. Whatever it was – the visit of this famous building had become to the Secession from the real.