the eyes of the skin: architecture and the senses

Lol, @draconianpotterhead thought she could slip her birthday by me *mwahaha*

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“Draco, what are we doing out here?” Harry protested, letting his boyfriend tug him along in the rain-soaked streets of whatever city he had apparated them to.  

He figured it was Europe still, judging by his limited architectural expertise, but honestly it could have been Paris or Amsterdam, Budapest or Prague.  He had no monuments to guide him, only cobbled side-alleys and a devilish glint in Draco’s eye.  

“Hush Potter,” he admonished.  “Where’s your sense of adventure?”

Harry always knew he was in for a treat if he was being referred to as Potter.  it sent a flurry across his skin that told him to shut up and be patient.  He’d be thankful in the end.  

They had a large black umbrella bobbing above their heads, in Draco’s hands as always as he was the tallest and therefore always custodian of the brolly.  Leafy trees waved at them from above, shaking water droplets from their branches as twilight encroached on the boys’ little adventure, making sure the rain still made its mark on them.  

Harry was aware he was in one of his best suits, as per Draco’s instructions.  He’d assumed he was being taken to a nice restaurant for their spontaneous evening out, not popping out to another country.  

But Draco had a plan, so Harry was going to let him play it out.  He couldn’t help the excitement bubbling in his chest.  

“Okay,” Draco announced, stopping and turning to face Harry, the umbrella standing to attention between them as the persistent drizzle bore down.  “We’re here.”

“Where’s here?” Harry asked amused.

Draco just grinned back.  “Nowhere at all,” he said.

Harry frowned, not understanding.  “Alright,” he said slowly.  “So, why have we stopped?”

Draco swallowed, and Harry felt his hand tremble in his.  He held his breath, not daring to believe what might come next.  Draco tried to smile, but it was shaky, so Harry gave his hand a quick squeeze of reassurance.  

“It’s nowhere,” he said again.  “I applied for a random visa, we could be in any one of five or six different cities right now.”

Harry turned and looked at the dimming light, taking in the apartments with their balconies looming over them on the wide street.  He could hear the faint hum of traffic drifting by, and it was quite possible the rush of river waters wasn’t that far away.  “Why?” he asked again, this time so softly it barely made it past the lump in his throat.  

Draco took a deep breath.  “Because it doesn’t matter where we are,” he said, his voice catching.  “It’s us that makes the place important.  It’s always been like that.  Us.  That’s what makes the magic.”

“Draco,” Harry said softly, rubbing his thumb across the back of his beautiful boyfriend’s hand.  “That’s so lovely.”

“I love you,” Draco said, tears spilling down his face now.  “It’s so impossible, but that’s the point.  When we’re together, it makes me believe that actually, anything is possible.”

Harry could feel wetness chasing at the back of his own eyes now, but Draco went and smashed down the floodgates.

By dropping to one knee.

“Harry,” he breathed, almost fearfully.  “Will you marry me?”

Harry felt himself crumble into a hopeless ball of nonsense.  “Yes!” he cried, folding in on himself, following Draco and the umbrella down onto the pavement.  “Yes yes yes yes!”

He seized Draco to him, both of them crouched down on whatever street of whatever city had lead them to this perfect, impossible moment. 

Draco was laughing through his tears now.  “Can I get up yet?” he said.  “This is ruining my suit.”

Harry barked a laugh and hauled them both up, attacking Draco with kisses and balling the back of his jacket into his hands.  “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with me?”

“Yes,” Draco snapped immediately, bending him backwards with the ferociousness of his kiss.  “If you’ll have me?” he added, pulling back just enough to search Harry’s face with his glistening grey eyes.  

“I’ll have you forever,” Harry promised, and pulled him in again for another kiss.  

The eye is the organ of distance and separation, whereas touch is the sense of nearness, intimacy and affection. The eye surveys, controls and investigates, whereas touch approaches and caresses. During overpowering emotional experiences, we tend to close off the distancing sense of vision; we close the eyes when dreaming, listening to music, or caressing our beloved ones. Deep shadows and darkness are essential, because they dim the sharpness of vision, make depth and distance ambiguous, and invite unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy.
How much more mysterious and inviting is the street of an old town with its alternating realms of darkness and light than are the brightly and evenly lit streets of today! The imagination and daydreaming are stimulated by dim light and shadow. In order to think clearly, the sharpness of vision has to be suppressed, for thoughts travel with an absent-minded and unfocused gaze. Homogenous bright light paralyses the imagination in the same way that homogenisation of space weakens the experience of being, and wipes away the sense of place. The human eye is most perfectly tuned for twilight rather than bright daylight.
Mist and twilight awaken the imagination by making visual images unclear and ambiguous; a Chinese painting of a foggy mountain landscape, or the raked sand garden of Ryoan-ji Zen Garden give rise to an unfocused way of looking, evoking a trance-like, meditative state.
—  Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin