Dropped Paint in the Water

A bit of an old piece. It was nice, so I decided it was worth publishing. I don’t feel exactly the same way anymore, so I doubt I’d be able to edit it to perfection.


It was quiet and still and simple before. Everything was cool and clear, crisp, defined. Predictable, controllable, black and white. Distilled, practically. If-then statements were worthy of trust. A was A, and B was B. If, in the off chance, there was a miscalculation, steps could be retraced and reparations made. There was a respect for the cosmos.

Even if passions arose, they were easily contained and segregated and dissected. Feelings were processed on a standard factory line, and packaged and lined up nicely as brand new packets of advice. Oh, this is joy. Oh, this is sadness. Oh, this is irritation.

And then someone dropped paint in the water. What is this in my chest?

Its vibrance almost seemed to give me new eyes. Is this what they meant by euphoria? Is jealousy that feeling you get when he talks about her that way? Was my hand clasping and unclasping by my side as I walk, seeking somehow to reach more than air… loneliness?

Someone rearranged my things. My tools weren’t working the way they used to. If-then extended into if somehow-then maybe. A had become B, but B was neither A nor B, and occasionally C or delta would enter the picture. And for the first time ever, I couldn’t even be sure if I was in the wrong.

It’s ironic. I had the kind of cynicism and practical prowess that could shield me comfortably as I walked through hell. Then joy comes along and I’m caught off-guard.

I keep looking over my shoulder, hoping you’d come running up beside me, take my umbrella from my hand and ask what I’m doing all alone. The hair on my nape tingles every time someone passes from behind, hoping you slump over from behind and bury my head in your hoodie and cologne. I look either at the sky or my feet when I walk, lest my eyes run away to seek you.

I’m bursting with questions. Then I catch a glimpse of you from across the room, in your mirthful laughter and reserved energy, and for a singular, quiet moment, a crystal caught in time, everything coalesces into one simple answer. The simplest things are the most fundamental; and also, the hardest to explain.

Usually I don’t like things I can’t wrap my mind around. Funny, since I like you.


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