Sunday, 14 September 2014
Oscar Wilde once said, "No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything," in his preface to her favorite story, "The Picture of Dorian Gray".
She understood what he meant - there were no inhibitions at all when it came to art. It was a very abstract subject, with no right or wrong answers. You either understood a piece of art, or you didn't. It was a rarity for two persons to decipher the same piece of art exactly the same way - it all boiled down to one's knowledge, emotions and experience at the point of viewing the same artform. It could be a sculpture, a painting or a poem, anything at all.
When she first met him at the opening of an art gallery, she had marveled at his paintings. They were bold in themes and lucid in tones, creations that Van Gogh himself would have been envious of. When she saw the artist himself, her heart skipped a beat - it was like his painting "Swirls" - she could literally feel the bold strokes of the brush fluttering against her rib cage.
He was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark eyes and a sombre demeanor. He was the kind that she liked, the kind that came to mind whenever she tried to write in the middle of the night. She did not hear him speak, but she imagined he could have the kind of smooth, deep intonation that she fantasized about, whispering sweet-nothings into her ears.
But alas, she knew she would never hear from someone like him. Sure, she was pretty herself - lithe, fair-haired and a gifted poet, but she was mute. Since the day she was born, she could not speak, not even with the help of a voice chip. As such, she faced lots of difficulties in school - academically, socially and emotionally; and even as an adult she found it hard for potential boyfriends to accept her with her handicap. So her poetry was her life, her career, her one true love.
Three days later, she received a Whatsapp message from him, an invitation to dinner the following evening. Hand clammy with nervous sweet, she typed back an "Ok" in a quivering hand, deciding to be frank with him about her condition and see if they could at least be friends.
The dinner venue was set as a posh French restaurant. Though she strolled in with rigor pose of confidence, her insides were melting with fear of how he would regard her after knowing her inability to hold a conversation. They smiled, and then he began to gesticulate with his arms, communicating with her in very smooth, practiced moves.
He was struck by an illness at young age that caused him to lose his voice for good, even despite several surgeries and attempts at voice chip implementation. The evening turned out well, sparks flying between their silent chats, and his dark eyes were seeking her violet ones out intensely.
Then he presented her with a painting depicting the beauty of a woman, which he referenced to her. She presented him with a short poem she had written about him as well. The deal was sealed.
Dark eyes, look at me,
I will them to look at me,
Intensify the longings I have within,
Unearth from me my desires,
Electrify me with the swirls of irises,
So deep beneath the abyss.
Do these dark eyes belong to a man,
or a demigod, or a fallen angel?
How could they undress me,
Right through to my very soul,
Releasing me from the fears,
Keeping me hostage since young?
Dark eyes, look to me,
I need them to look to me,
Identify the yearnings I hide within,
Set them free so I may be reborn,
Encapsulate me in the warm glow,
From the windows of his soul.
From that evening onwards, they met up almost every other evening, communicating with each other between sign language, eye contact, meanings in his paintings and her poetry.
He would paint his frustrations to show her, and he would praise her in his paintings. She would write about him when she was happy and when she was sad. They would spend time to decipher each others' expressed emotions together, so as to bond and understand each other better. Soon they got married and enjoyed nuptial bliss for the next few decades.
There were no children because they agreed that their world was too complicated to burden an innocuous child with.
So, today, amongst all those who came to mourn, she was the only immediate family member, sitting regal and upright in the church pew, teardrops cascading down her smooth cheeks in quick succession as the Priest droned on about those who had "gone home to be with the Father".
For years, he had been her support, her joy, her companion, her love. Leukemia was a vile and jealous bitch, willing to break up a happy marriage just to steal her husband away from her. So he had succumbed to her seduction and left for a world that perhaps, he would be able to hear his own voice again.
Laying the flowers at his coffin now, she could only wish that he was happier. The sheet of poetry (the last?) she had written him was wrapped around the stems of the bunch of flowers delicately, and she hoped he would get to read it, wherever he was now.
Blessed are those who know love,
Who have mastered the skills to give,
And those who learned true love;
With the ability to receive.
It matters not to the rich or poor,
It differs not to the loud or silent;
Love banishes all differences to the shore,
Taking with it those with a heart.
Fortunate was I to have been a disciple,
To have been loved, and given love;
In arms so strong, that the night retreats,
In eyes so dark, into its pool my soul melts.
I want of nothing more,
Having tasted of this nectar so sweet;
With memories of you framed in love,
Given and taken so freely, from my chest.
Now you go gently into the night,
And sleep under the folds of the stars;
Till I fall, too, to the lure of blight,
And soon join you in these deep slumbers.
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