Sunday, July 26, 2009

paint it black

I woke up feeling a bit disoriented. I looked around and through the darkness, I felt the wall for the light switch. Flick! It said and I got a full view of where I was. The room was in terrible shape. The furniture needed rearranging, stuff needed to be picked up off the floor and the walls needed a fresh coat of paint. What happened to this place? It used to be really nice. I’m going to work really hard to make this room nice again.

I bought a couple cans of paint. I wanted everything to be bright so I settled on a nice, warm shade of blue. I mopped the floor once and swept twice for good measure. I hauled everything outside so that I wouldn’t get any paint on them. I kept the door open so that I could keep an eye on my stuff while I painted.

The walls had become really ugly over the years- a few chips here and there, holes where pictures and paintings used to be. I painted everything white. It was a fresh start. I stood in the middle of the room, paint fumes in the air and just absorbed everything around me. It’s been years since these walls felt this peaceful. I said a little prayer, hoping this feeling wouldn’t go away.

When the white base was dry, it was finally ready for the blue coat. I carefully took the roller and with patience and precision, I started painting everything blue. After about an hour or so, I was finished. I stood in the middle of my blue room and reveled in the fact that everything was now so clean and so me.

I moved the bed near the window. I put the books back in the shelves. It was almost evening when I noticed that the front door was still open.

As I was closing the door, I could see a nameless, faceless stranger from the horizon. Wait! He shouted. Don’t close that!

I’m very tired. Come back some other time.
I said.

Please. I won’t take up a lot of your time. I traveled far and wide to see this room and it would be pointless to give up now.

It’s really late and I’m very tired. Please come back some other time.
By this time, the stranger was on the porch.

Please. You won't even know I’m there.

After much hesitation, I finally obliged. You’re sleeping on the couch. I said and he seemed fine with the idea. He looked around the room with a half-smile on his face.

I just painted it today. Do you like the new color? I asked.

I think it’s ugly. I think it’s too bright.

I looked at him, weighing the value of his statement and decided it was pointless to fight with a stranger. I lay down my arms in brittle hopes of compromise.

Someone once said this room had lots of paintings in it. Where are they?

Well, over the years, people just took them home with them. I think I gave the last one out a month ago.

Such a shame.
He said, shaking his head in disapproval. Such a shame.

The next day, I woke up and saw that the stranger was still there. He was sitting, perched on top of the bookshelf like a glorious bird. He had a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Good morning. I said but there was no answer. Several books lay scattered on the floor. Hey! I just fixed those yesterday. What are they doing on the floor?

They were ugly. I didn’t like how you arranged them.

But those were my books.
I muttered, picking them up as I made my way across the room. I rearranged the books and magazines on the shelf.

Is this better? I asked.

I suppose so.

Do you still think the room is ugly?

I don’t know. It’s still a little too bright.

By evening, he was gone. I looked around the small room and wondered what it was that made him leave. Maybe it was how I arranged the books. Maybe it was the shape of the shelf. Maybe it was the color on the walls. Or maybe, just maybe, he found everything he couldn’t stand in this room.

I took some leftover cans of paint from the garage and mixed them all together in a big container. I could see the moon’s reflection bouncing off the dark liquid. Are you doing this for yourself? It asked. I ignored it and went to bed. Tomorrow, when the sun is up, I’ll paint my room black.

That night, just as I was about to go to sleep, I looked up at the heavens from the window near my bed. Is it true that You love everyone just as they are? Please love me just as I am.

Alanis Morissette
City of Angels: Music from the Motion Picture