For the longest time, I stared at the curious painting on the wall. This must be what alone feels like, because others will never see the deceptively innocuous painting the way I did. We're often told to shun clichés because the weight of their typicality bears down on those who are aware, but in this one I saw a reflective contradiction - a sort of lunatic calm - that was so personal it was bursting at the seams, like a picture that paints a thousand words that will never be said, can never be said. As was aptly stated by Luis Barragán, art is made by the alone for the alone, and in that brief instant I think I caught fire. Or something along those lines, one of those sensations you can't quite put a finger to. So I abruptly turned away, somewhat clumsily I suppose, stuck in that weird rarefaction you get when you're overwhelmed by something so insignificant it almost doesn't exist, and started to walk.
Then I stopped, and so did my heart for a moment, as I looked up and saw you standing there with that half-slanted posture that reeked of an unwelcome familiarity of confidence. Or perhaps the situation seemed unpleasant of sorts due to the awkward abruptness. I might've been less ambivalent and a little more self-assured if it wasn't here and now. We were a few feet apart; close enough to a feel a tension that would've been crushing even if we were worlds from each other, in that gray corridor that suddenly seemed too wide it was stifling. With the sun's rays like accusatory fingers piercing through the high windows, I suddenly felt as if I had somehow willed you out of that painting.
"Whoa, hey. It's been some time."
Maybe we're the way we are because life is lived according to the idealistic clichés we unwittingly create and trap ourselves in. Sometimes it really seems like our realities reflect art more than art reflects reality.
"Yeah, seriously," you said, with a controlled chuckle. "I feel as if I'd have to endure another lifetime or two before someone we both distantly know would finally introduce you to me again."
"Yup I suppose. Never thought it'd be so soon, to be honest," I replied, coupled with a nervous smile. For some bizarre reason I was sure I felt the deep reverberation of the unspoken words that resounded between us in our intertwined thoughts. Remember the playground next to 513? / I've always wondered what it feels like to be consciously suffering a stroke. / Here's to the both of us for however long this will last. / I'd wanna be seated exactly beside where the next star will land. I think you were the first. / Toa Payoh chwee kway owns Clementi's hands down. / I'll light a candle and say a prayer for you!
"Always quite the cynic, aren't you?"
I returned a restrained nod, as I relaxed a little. There was much we would have died to say if we still existed in our little utopia, but we've both blasted off in our little rockets and those words will be buried six feet deep. At least, right now, I'm finally sure that's how it will be. A few feet apart was all that separated us physically, but we were as far asunder as lightyears in dimensions that aren't even parallel. But at least the distance apart will guarantee a myriad of twinkling stars in between, if a silver lining was ever needed for something that had already ended.
"I've to be on my way. It's nice to see you again," I said, and you replied, "well, that was strange and good all the same. Good bye."
I'm not colour blind; I know the world is black and white, and you can't convince someone that the grass is green in a world without colours. I guess while I thought it'd be easier than this, I've definitely moved on to what I hope would be a better place somewhere in my mind and it suddenly felt as if the cracks on my vine-ridden wall have been filled up, and you're no longer perched at the top with your legs swinging freely around. Walking away wasn't even necessary, as we were both never really right there beside that fateful painting. A sense of finality came before it was even called for.