It is a cloudy Sunday morning – the autumn sky looks like a very light grey shroud devoid of shadow or light, making the world around, that flavourless cityscape I can see through the widow, look anaesthetized. There is no wind; the trees stand very still; the electric cables here and there hang motionless. I can hear no rushing cars, no laughing school kids and no old ladies of many colours argue down the street, near the bakery shop. Somewhere in the house, dad is watching television as he always does – the lulled voices of commercials and various programs are an unescapable background noise in the flat.
It is a day neither good nor bad. It is not a day that calls for an epiphany; the special moment of revelation seems even less likely as steam gradually builds on the windows which take on the wan colour of the clouds. I can no longer see the buildings across the street, or the trees that stand very still and the electric cables here and there hanging motionless from their posts.
I have caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror earlier – sleep-deprived, sallow, hollowed cheeks, hunched shoulders and lank, unkempt hair. My pyjamas have stains on them; I can see all around me that the house is not so tidy. I have been sad for too many days.
And yet, I can feel a new emotion crackling inside. It is not a flame; I could not even call it a spark, but perhaps it needed to begin on such a dull, faded day for if it can catch fire today, when there is no precious light and no vivid colours, perhaps it will endure. It speaks in a really soft, barely audible voice and sings to me: “This is not you in the mirror; remember the promise that you made”. It is true that I made a promise to someone, a vow to keep on drawing, writing, painting, reading, studying and laughing. It is also true that I asked this person to promise me she would endeavour to get better and heal so she could be happy. She promised she would try – I want her to succeed because I know she can, but the only control I have is over my part of the contract. And my part I want to fulfill, because if I do, perhaps the crackling sound inside my heart will catch fire to be a flame. And maybe I can keep it ablaze, one day at a time.