It's brighter from that side. Sometimes I hate to think to blink repeatedly. Maybe I'm distant or maybe bleakness went a little too far. Like a rare breed, I could scatter myself around the earth. But I like it better when I am behind closed doors. I like it better when it's only me in this earth, left standing, left painting with all the colors of me.
But that color isn't so many. In reality, it's just one. In my imagination, it's a thousand.
They laugh at my one-sided masterpiece and grumble over the shaggy strokes and I just want to escape to rub my damnable color all around the sun until it's bleached.
I turn and there they are, still mocking at me with mismatched symphony and just amidst the crowd, I catch a shade like me, hooded in a chocking robe of hopelessness. A thought that I would soon be careened into that robe jerks me forward and slap me awake from oblivion.
A moment ago, it was all about me and I could shut my doors behind me and paint to my heart's satisfaction, indifferent to how dull the portrait turns out to be. Fast forward to a second after now, it's going to be all about them, the ones who lost their brush altogether, or horribly, can't find their palette. The ones I would be joining soon.
They say I build castles up there, I say I ramp blocks down here. One of these assert has got to be spitting truth, and I'm damn certain it's not their fairy tale palace. So I am called out. Prove yourself they say, justify why your portrait isn't another castle right out of Alice's rabbit hole. That brought me here; to this gathering of hungry wolves ready to pounce at me in a second of hesitation.
Cocking my chin at an elevated angle, I square my shoulders and will courage to my limbs as I walk into the room. By the corner of my eyes, I catch the cacophony of appraisal from a few of them. One man is already snoring on me by a corner and just a few distance from him another guy has a lazy look on his face like he would rather be feeding an army of ants in his garage at home than sitting where he was.
A lavishly dressed woman at the far corner has a smug look on her face and whispers to her neighbor, darting her eyes back to me repeatedly. A young girl about my daughter's age pensively jetting around like the usual child she is, gets quickly snatched away by her mother as she almost collides with me. My fingers tighten beside me and I know a slight faltering of my steps would send me racing off, so I hood my expression masterly and avert my eyes before finding my way onwards towards the stage
I mount the stage and every eye in the room seem to perforate holes into my heart. It is obvious their varying attention is pedantic and they make it feel like they do me a favour not to be heard of in any part of the universe. I hear myself swallow deeply and a rumble of snorts overvalue in the air.
At that point, I seriously consider running for the wind and kissing the world goodbye, but just as this thought begins to brew, my eyes sit on that same robed lady from earlier. She has a hood slightly pulled out of her face a little to the back but I could not have been able to misplace the feeling she epically schooled into me. It began to pull me in, communicating in the language only I could understand. It hits me like a missile and sends me recoiling inward. For her sake, if only for her sake, I must go on. In the future, she'll never be able to forgive me. I know, because I’m her.
Throwing a cursory gaze across the room, I inflect my upper body forward and speak straight from my heart.
“I'm black. I know.” A horny sound revolts in response and I even hear a few mocking statements, but I’ve stabbed my usual frightful self a heartbeat ago, so I repeat, “I’m black, so what?”
A hush sound permeates the air and I’m not so sure if it's in response to my words or the intensity at which I launched it. Either ways, it’s a great sign. “I’m black, you sneer, so what? He's white, you grin, so what. It doesn’t change anything. It’s not going to move Mount Everest anytime soon. Your appraisal, the one you so jealousy flaunt around, it’s really not the deal here you see. No, it isn’t. Don’t you get it? I’m the color I am, not because you said it, but because that’s just what it is. God is who he is, not because you said so, it’s just what it is. And I don’t care if you reciprocate, but I’ll say it anyway. You’re who you are, not because I said it, but because it just so happen to be that! Just that! So...so what? Why are you all over the place about it? I’m black. So what?”
I pause to draw my breath and notice some prior smug expressions dropping to hushed confusion. Than I resume. “Here’s what. Me. Yes, me. I'm what’s what. You’re what’s what! And I’m sticking tightly to that. You can scowl all you want. But I got this so altogether. I'm. What’s. What!"
“Don’t you see? You've pulled your hair all this time but it’s really only in my hands as all about you is only in your hands. But you, every single one of you, don’t just realize right? It’s my identity, not yours. It’s my integrity, not yours. It’s your identity too, not mine. But I tell you, you’re doing a really great job at showing me just what 'you' looks like. I'll not be you. I'll get it right. I'll paint me and me, you see, is black. I’ll paint black.”
I pause again and notice a hint of remorse on some of their faces before going on. “It’s not really about the colour you see. It’s about the person holding unto the brush. That person determines what the picture becomes. He could have options on the palette or it could just be all Black, but what matters is the masterpiece, the one every eye will admire. One color shade isn’t going to tone down his portrait, for he knows just how to expertly find his way around. It could be black, white or even pink, but it all depends on the painter."
“I’m black. But that’s not the end of it. Look in closer. You'll realize I’m a masterpiece. You don’t notice because you don’t stop to really see. I'm black, I’m beautiful and that is what’s what! Look closely. Come. Look closely. See me. Can’t you see how I glow? I respect your identity. Why can’t you respect mine? I look closely at you now, though it’s hard to see beyond the surface, I still look. But many of you aren’t so showy about the masterpiece palava. If you were, you would respect me. Masterpieces are perfectness in their own rights. Each one says its own thing. So you see, that really is what is what.”
“I’m through piping. I’m through calling it white when it’s black. I'll proudly say it now. Let’s paint white. Let’s paint black. Let’s paint a masterpiece. It’s about time you got used to me because I'm not going Anywhere. Anytime. Soon!”
On that note I descend from the stage and start to walk away, but then I halt on my track to catch the eye of the robed lady. She has her hood down now and a grin spread across my face as I resume walking. She’s going to be proud of me in the coming days and we're going to have a swell time, knit together as one, painting BLACK.