I am not coordinated.
My Mom taught me when I was little that Navy and Black don’t match, and that’s the most I know. I’ve never been able to pick colors – maybe because I find them all too pretty to leave behind. I guess it isn’t so bad, but it sort of makes me a little wistful sometimes while I listen to conversations about sparkles and watch people coordinate beautiful things.
I don’t mean to be jealous. I’ve just never felt at home in any style, and so I watch in a shy sort of awe all the elegance of piano music and cashmere, the daring adventure of pirates and black, and so on. Design is not my natural gift by any means.
So then I withdrew into music, but music is not quite my gift either. The more eager I am to spill sound over someone I know, someone I love, the more my fingers slip and my face scarlets. It is a shy thing, timid and faint. I chased it, but only twice have I hit upon a song that wrote itself into my threads, like a thousand blue stars studded on glassy wires.
And then there was painting. Actually, we shouldn’t talk about painting. The most that can be said for it is that I do it anyway, even though I am not good at it.
And I’m not sure why I do it. Perhaps it is because I lose my mind when I do not make, even though lately the fire has been more a smoldering sheet of paper wafting rather aimlessly. I know it isn’t so much that I get lonely, for part of loneliness is feeling like the outsider, like an inverse fishbowl. Part of loneliness is not feeling the storm, the thunder of the Words and the lightning and the rain that pounds into your skin, soaking into your fingertips.
It’s the not seeing how the colors align, how they crackle and burst, and fearing you never will again.
It’s the missing a friend for more than two seconds.
It’s when all of the people have changed, and you’re left staring at the mirage of old pictures.
It’s the tiredness of not being able to help, and saying the wrong things.
It’s the indecision and exhaustion and the Voices always smirking.
It’s the staring at the pretty words that can never be yours.
It’s being alone in the light.
It’s being forgotten.
It’s all the old songs feeling dead, when you know they are not so.
It’s the ache and fear of being replaced.
I end up withdrawing into monochrome, the corner silently, because the colors stand out more, but the blending in of my feathers makes me wearied. I stand in the corner and struggle hard not to leave, because I can tell black from navy, and I chose to lock my fingers onto people and not quit on them, even when it hurts me. (The fear of hurting them is a different subject.)
I’m the sort of person who laughs off pain. When I broke my ankle, I immediately started joking. I take care of my people first: I’m made so that I don’t process deeply right away. I love to be strong, I really do. I’d love to carry everyone’s problems so that they don’t have to suffer, so it doesn’t hurt them so much. Some major heartaches have taken years for me to actually, honest-to-goodness cry over. Even so, the instability and hurt makes you feel battered, and the pieces stare back at you impassively.
So maybe that’s why beauty is what makes me cry, because it somehow takes me by surprise. It’s the glimpse, the spilling over into light and straight into my soul: the Tapestry, and the storm. It’s the waking, that the words themselves will not fill the ache.
‘It comes, it comes!’ they sang. ‘Sleepers awake! It comes, it comes, it comes.’
One dreadful glance over my shoulder I essayed — not long enough to see (or did I see?) the rim of the sunrise that shoots Time dead with golden arrows and puts to flight all phantasmal shapes. Screaming, I buried my face in the fold of the Teacher’s robe.
‘The morning! The morning!’ I cried. ‘I am caught by the morning and I am a ghost.’ [C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce]
[Header/footer image by Tamugreg, edited by me.]