A Little More Space

"While he proceeded to the stage, everyone watched"

[Fien Feldman was one of the winners of the writing contest. In 2015 her text ‘The Horizon was chosen as ‘Betoog van het Jaar‘ in de show of Frits Spits, on Radio1]

The first meeting of the Parliament of Things had opened. Everyone seemed slightly uncomfortable under the weight of their newfound autonomy. At the same time, there was a brittle sense of revolution in the air.

The Horizon was quiet. Ever since the Things acquired a right to speak for themselves, he had suppressed the urge to do so. Am I even a Thing, he wondered. What I look like and where I am has always been decided by somebody else. Most of the other Things were firm. Substantial. He, on the other hand, always felt unsteady.

Behind the pulpit was Bronze. Bronze glistened while he presented the many ways in which he was used by people. Of him, weapons were made; statues, church bells. There was even an entire age named after him! Iron and Stone nodded approvingly. While Bronze chronicled his own importance, The Horizon gathered the courage to make his way up to the podium. He needed to contribute – it was his Parliament too.

While he proceeded to the stage, everyone watched. Even Bronze quietened down. The Horizon had never been this aware of his extensive proportions. He was boundless, limitless, and he felt rather dizzy.

Bronze had stepped aside. The Horizon cleared his throat.

“Hello, everyone,” he said, unsure whether this was the appropriate way of addressing the Parliament.

“Thank you for your attention.” His nervousness faded slowly.

“Man has always thought of us as instrumental. Things and Technologies to be used, Animals and Plants to be eaten. Me, the Horizon, to be painted, photographed, and appreciated – but always in the background.” He decided to make a joke.

“So this position, of me being in front of you, is very new to me.” His audience grinned.

“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you. Without you, I would be empty. You constitute the view that I am the basis of. You complete me.” He wondered if he was being too sentimental, but decided it was acceptable. It was a meeting of great importance, after all.

“That being said, there is a problem I would like to address.” He took a deep breath. “I am becoming too full. I feel myself almost overflowing with matter. It is too much.” He felt the eyes of his audience upon him.

“Not to be unappreciative or anything, of course not,” he said, because in the back of his mind he wasn’t entirely sure whether this shift of political power would last, “but humans are everywhere, and they are taking up quite some room.” He looked up, into the audience. “What I mean to say is: I could use a little more space.”

The Animals, the Plants, the Technologies and the Things considered it for a while. A little more space. Just a bit more room without human interference. Forests without tourists camping in them; skies without airplanes full of travelers cutting through them like knives; mountains that weren’t being climbed by venturesome individuals. That’s what they all needed. A little more space.

After a moment of silence, a thunderous applause resounded. The Horizon turned red. He felt slightly embarrassed by this mighty support, but proud at the same time. It was unanimously decided that the first rule of the Constitution would be as follows:

Dear humans, we would like a little more space.


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