Indigo: Chapter 3
I awakened slightly chilled. There was a single satin sheet over me, ruffled and waving faintly in a breeze. I lay staring at the grass through the open doors, each one with its fine smudge of dulled shadow from a clouded sun. Windy morning? Sunny afternoon? Sunny and breezy midday? A small striped bee wandered past, a blithe and harmonic outlook magnifying my gloomy one.
I just wanted it to be night again so I could stay here, where I lay.
—Bask in my chill and indolence, like I yearned for (and deserved with every pore).
I stood up slowly and let the sheet slip down my thighs to the ground. The sliding feather touch sent chills up my naked back. I reached for my clothes on the bedside table and then stood there, cold, bare, staring at nothing—the garments dangling emptily from my hand. I had held intimacy in my hand last night, the gemstone of the profound touch of another human being, and I had let it slip away. I felt the fabric slipping through my fingers and let it go to pile at my feet, together with my shattered memories.
But I was here on business mixed with pleasure, and one of the two must go on.
I sat down to a table of prepared fare and quietly said grace. I mixed well with the other diners in the dining hall, I thought, like the milk seeping into the porridge. Not quite the same thing, but swirling around, joining thought and heart until the differences became indistinguishable.
There was much to talk about; news did not travel fast and I was a treasure house full of it. I joined in quickly, happy to have my mind occupied. The diners bartered opinions and speculations, the currency of everyone, young and old, valued the same. The king was well—aging but not slowing; the crops were bountiful; the style of the minstrels was changing.
“And what of art, my good man, in your section of the world?”
My section of the world was rich in art. A passion for the subject caused investments and sacrifices which were as yet unrivalled. Many were the bold styles and colours just now becoming in vogue by the efforts of the brave. The face of art too, I believed, was changing forever.
New talent was springing up under every branch imaginable. The very newest of names were becoming household words. And yet, there were still some who created in secret—releasing their works under a pseudonym, or not at all. Such a grave, terrible loss to the enlightened world that was just beginning to emerge.
I had just stumbled upon one of these last night. She probably would not have liked to have it spread around, but it was not a lie. An artist myself, I needed a gracefully colourful illustration to spearhead the describing of my opinionated, distasteful situation. There was no harm in the spreading of facts was there? I would take on the role of storyteller, and she was my tale.
Perhaps with a little inevitable embellishment, the story would take on a life of its own, like a bonfire dancing under the moonlight. Perhaps this way my audience would feel the grieving deep in my soul, and understand why it grieved me. Performers play to their audiences, and carry only half the fault. Without the soil could the shoot blossom and grow?
I said, “In regards to art, possibly we could begin by looking much closer than we originally thought.”
It was for her good anyway, I reasoned—the veil ripped back and the riches streaming forth. Whose was the right to conceal such beauty in the first place? The gifts of God were given to be proclaimed. I will have justice and properness, shouted the knight-errant from the rooftops, raising his standard high—
I had seen this knight in me before.
A haughty fellow.
I paused, in deep thought. Had not the arrogant knight trampled enough flowers in his noble quest? Might not the damsels in distress be better off left alone to manage their own business? Might not God be allowed to work in His own rambling, mysterious ways? Perchance my hobbling help would only complicate things. Maybe my two-edged sword was better sheathed.
Anxious faces awaited.
I said, “In regards to art… I am somewhat of an artist myself. On an amateur level, of course.”
I felt someone smiling at me—an angel perhaps—as I described passions that were my own to the dining audience.
Labels: Short Story