27 September 2010

A Story - Part One

The bulb flickers nervously, its small halo sparks into the swelling darkness, before casting its long and lazy light upon the room.  It reaches out to softly caress the closest surfaces within the room, intimately following each and every undulating curve, turn and slow movement with its touch.  The far corners of the room remain thickly covered by the dark, however the shadows reach out, gently suffusing the darkness into the warmth offered by the bulb, so that the transition from one to the other feels as natural as the progression from the night to the day itself.  Stretched out between the light and dark like a dreamscape is the room in which the air lies still and heavy.

A man steps out of the darkness, his foot landing onto the polished wood of the floor in a muffled thud.  His eyes, made slow by sleep, carefully strain to see what is before him, as the objects emerge like wisps plucked from the swirling fog and frozen solid.  They are like ghosts given materiality, the hazy edges filling out just at the moment he chooses to concentrate upon them.  His glance crosses the shape of the nightstand, bearing upon its worn wooden top a faded framed photograph, of a life he yearns with all his heart to return to, and the clock that has given him his bearings on so many nights, when half-conscious he glances across to its gently illuminated hands.  Like a baby in the arms of its mother waking to the welcome reassurance of her breathing, the steady rhythm within which the baby knows instinctively that all is safe, that clock has reassured the man in confused awakening moments, that time is on his side.

And yet, as much as the clock provides the man with a sense of comfort in those foggy-minded moments, of the knowledge that he can be content that he has allowed himself to be where he is, he meets it now with a sense of anxiety.  Looking to the guiding hands of the clock he sees not a reassurance of time yet to pass, but rather the creeping of time.  He feels time as urgently and as sharply as he feels the rise and fall of his own breast.  He feels age, not merely age which promises his own inevitable descent, but age which courses through the veins of life itself.  In that moment he feels as if he is standing before the most inspiring book he has ever read, but its pages turn too swiftly for him to keep up.  He feels but a bittersweet yearning for a half-forged passed-thought of beauty.  As the word beauty tracks across the stage of his mind he thinks of luscious fields of lavender, the smell of musk and amber, the feel of warm skin and silk, and for a moment he loses himself in the luxurious freedom of those associations.

As he opens his eyes once again they rest upon a long mirror stood beneath the glowing bulb.  He looks across its clean surface but does not see himself.  He sees those tufts of hair, those dark eyes, those fleshy lips.  He sees an envelope of self, but he does not see himself, rather he sees past himself.  He is more familiar with the features in the mirror than that of any other's, expect perhaps those in the photograph he keeps on his nightstand, and yet when he looks at them his mind simply acknowledges that they constitute the him that ought to be reflected back, and just as swiftly dismisses the fact.  They form an irrelevant piece of the puzzle which his mind takes for granted.  Like a ripple within a wave it forms part of a whole, to which he concerns himself but could not possibly comprehend every minutia.  But then just as he watches the clouds moving in the sky and wonders how it would feel to run through them, whether they will end above land or water, how many eyes will see them pass, he wonders about the details to everything.  In discovering the small things he hopes to some day realize the bigger things.

The only time he would really look at the image of himself, to really inspect it, would be the moment he looked upon the mirror and the features reflected back were foreign to his memory.  Were his eyes met with even the smallest change or alteration to the set of features which he takes be able to see for granted, he would inspect himself with the fervour of a man seeing himself for the first time.  But as it stands, he takes comfort in being able to see, and yet not see.  Seeing himself reflected back is a well acquired experience, something he has spent his entire life doing, seeing the changes in age as they happened, that is to say at their languishingly slow natural pace.  When he does take the time to stop and look at those features, he notes with a wonder how swiftly he seems to have changed and become the man he never quite thought he would be.

The man knows the man he sees reflected back at him, it is the most intimate and fragile of images, but it is not the him that he imagines himself to be.  The image of reality that meets him is that of a surface.  Parts of the surface hide inklings of what lie beneath to those deft enough to be able to read them, but those parts can never display all of himself.  He could spend a lifetime giving bloom to the seeds of thought that lie behind those eyes, that surface, and never truly display all of himself.  But he does not need to display all of himself, and for the people he does wish to display all of himself to, he certainly does not need to express every waking thought.  Rather, those people see like he sees, past a surface that they are so familiar with that they can ignore, to the person beneath.  They see the brave and strong, the frail and flawed, and accept it, just as he accepts what he sees in them.

But as he stands looking past the image of some other him, he thinks of the him he wants to be.  He feels time, he feels age, he feels some notion of his own identity, and he feels the need to put thought into the next action he must take.  He slowly turns from the mirror, peeling away from the image of some reflected self, to consider how to clothe the self he wants to display.

Currently playing: Na Na ft. Skepta - N-Dubz 



  1. Really beautifully written. Priceless!

  2. I'm very happy to see this story. Its like the beginning of fashion.

  3. woah boy I didn't know you could write like this...love the detail and the sensations

    did you write it while you were in the hospital?

  4. Brilliant, along with the accompanying music.