1 February 2012


Also published on the Fountain Pen Guild website.

Her slippered feet subtly slapped on the stairs and her hand dangled with the white mug she held with a finger. The roof was blanketed with a more opaque milky white fog. She stepped on to the slightly dusty light orange floor.

Her sockless feet and bare hands were gripped by the palpable freezing air around her. The prickly icy wind kissed her cheek and pinched her nose. And swiped across her lips, and she shielded her neck to it. But her barely warm fingers felt numb against her neck.

And she stood at the edge for what seemed like a long, long time.

The fog was beginning to fade.. it settled on the periphery. But it was still inside her little bubble of existence. She walked to the edge of the balcony, setting the mug on the table next to her. On her wrist, she noticed a streak of fiery orange. Must have missed it. She tried to rub it away but it had dried. Giving up easily, she breathed out into the chilly air and watched her breath freeze and then become one with the dense fog that was beginning to form closer.

Her eyes stared ahead at the trees swaying against the winter wind but her eyes were still swimming with the image of the canvas. Propped up in front of her, her arm ached dully, but the pain was barely there. She finally felt relieved, but not exactly happy. It was just an absence of the ticking clock in her mind. It had gone quiet. Now everything was too quiet. Peaceful.

Now her mind came around to it and realized that the exhibition was tomorrow. Everything was ready. Except her. Feeling her heart beat quicken, she told herself to relax. The mug was full of steaming coffee now. And she hadn't even noticed. The curtains behind her rustled as she turned around to look. He had left.

When she had come out to be in the open, rather than go to sleep, it wasn't a decision. She just felt like it. She held on to the warm mug in her hands. And pushing all the thoughts away from her.. she turned around to go inside. The room smelled of paint. The reminder of a sleepless night. Like other sleepless nights. Of solitude and silence.

The palette was covered in paint, a multitude of shades and stories. The room, segmented shapes and patterns. Shadows fell on the wall in a series of chains. The blinds needed to be pulled up, a weak sun was starting to shine and she hoped it would get warmer. She sipped on the coffee standing near the window, looking down at the sleepy street below. Company. It always makes you feel.. not alone.

The chai wala on the corner shop was busy with the first customers. And the first rickshaws were beginning to ring their bells and hanker down the street. Her fingers still felt numb from the cold, or was it from keeping that brush between her fingers just way too long.

Hadn't she been told she thinks too much, does too little? Detaching herself from the world while she was engrossed in her work.. going deeper inside. The red light on the answering machine flickered silently, beckoning her closer. Her mind buzzed with words when she looked at the canvas. She hurriedly picked up a cloth and covered it, pushing it back against the wall and picked up her color palette, and moving her fingers across the dry paint, kept it on the countertop.

A variety of images crossed her mind. Her first bicycle, the smooth pebbles on the beach she went to a decade back, the azure of the skies, the monsoon green, the magenta on her mother's sequined bed sheet, the blackness of the skies when she peered into his eyes, the murky depths of the blue-green pond in the garden, the dark red of her room's curtains filtering the golden sunshine that lay captured in the..

A knock on the door woke her up from her reverie. He smiled at her, time to go.

"Give me ten minutes."

"Time to get back to life, right."

"Yes. It's time. To stop this craziness, I guess."

"Ditch the white this time. It's a big day."

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