Short story: The girl in black and the white ceiling
The ceiling was spotlessly white. The paint looked as if it had been done up yesterday. I lay on the bed wide awake, looking right at it. Plain and white… Nothing on it that would distinguish it from any other ceilings of any other rooms. I looked away to the side window on my left – it must have been the earlier hour of the morning by now but the sky still dark. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, hoping that it would somehow magically put me to sleep.
Tick…tick, the wrist watch on the bed side table ticked away. I had it for a while now but never, had I noticed how loud it was. Amazing to think that, it had been ticking away as always. I turned side way to the bedside table, reached out and picked the watch up. The leather strap slightly warned out. Countless scratches on the face. Still, it kept the time honestly. Life as a watch? That should be easy – I thought to myself, moving ever forward that all it does. I put the watch down and twisted myself around the other direction and there she was. Soundly asleep. The white sheet that covers her bosom moved up and down in rhythm with the sound of her breathing. I was amazed by the consistency of the rhythm. It was so peaceful to listen to. The simplest sound. I moved in closer. The warm yellow light from bedside table behind me siluated her face and her body outline against the white sheet like a pencil sketch on a white paper. I quietly observed her in the dark.
She was a thin girl, not one with the kind of curves that would knock you out, and in fact rather on the skinny side. The dress she wore last night though brought out the best of her. I searched for it with my eyes and there it was, hanging on the arm of the padded chair at the corner of the room. Black. She took in a deep breath and move to the side facing me. I turned around to continue my discovery. Her lip loosely closed together. Slightly moisten with faded traces of the last night lipstick. It was a light pink tone with the glossy finish on it, I seem to remember.
I turned toward the ceiling and began to observe it again and looking at it closer I could see some cracks in the paint, countless small spot of soot and lines. It was not as white as I thought it was. Tick Tick… the sound of the watch reminded me of the flow of time. Tonight will end soon. Headlight of a car passing by on the street lit the whole room up briefly before it too passed away.
I continued to stare at the ceiling. Right into it. Its whiteness although slightly grey in the poorly lit room made my eyes saw different types of illusion, different patterns. I enjoyed the optical illusion. But was it my eyes of the lump of meat behind it that creates this? I blinked and then it stopped. Everything stood still. I can hear only the breathings of me and her. I felt at peace. Then the pictures of my past appeared. Things that I did, things that I achieved, things that I proud of, things that I regretted all rolling backward like a film projected onto the white ceiling. I blinked and it stopped again, everything stood still once more.
I turned my head to observe her, still soundly asleep. I saw different lines that made up her face. Curves and contour, some of them I never noticed before, perhaps they were well hidden underneath powders of make-up. I wanted to reach out and touch her face and trace the lines with my finger like feeling the groove on a tree but I didn’t. Instead I moved closer. Quietly as possible I breathed, for I knew too well this peacefulness was so fragile.
As I continued, I began to think of what I knew of her. Relatively to the duration of my life in this world, of course it wasn’t a lot. I continued to search my memory and our encounters. But before I knew it I was no longer looking at her face but at my heart. I saw joy and I remembered pain; countless events began to roll back like a film. Then it stopped. It came to the end or rather it was the beginning. Then it rolled back until the point where we were. I tried to form some sort of conclusion and evaluation of her. I had the components but could not fit them together. I concentrated harder but only see illusion of multiple combinations of the components I had. I let it run free. Mindfulness of what I am thinking, still I was amazed by the landscape of thought that one could have of a person and how judgemental I am. Stopped. I thought to myself and it did. Everything stood still. I could hear once more the tick of the watch and her breathing.
Birds started singing, the dawn was breaking. It was time to get up. I slowly rolled off the bed. She must have felt the movement and rolled away the opposite direction. “Morning”. She mumbled. “Morning dear,. I will make you and the kid breakfast, come down when you ready” I put on my dressing grown and walked toward the door. The wooden floor creaks as always.
Began 16 Feb ended 22 Nov 2010, all character are pure imaginative.
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