I've always loved light. I don't know why. People take one look at me and assume I'm a shadow-lurking vampire, spiky black hair, heavily kohled eyes, black clothes and all, but the truth is there's nothing I'd like more than to be a black silhouette in a pure white apartment in Paris, with light streaming in the huge windows. I want to look like a girl-shaped hole in the pure radiant white light.
I like light.
I guess I've never much liked myself.
I like to think of myself as a photographer of words- not that I preserve every detail crystal clear, but everything painted in light and shadows. It's just the way I think, the way I remember. This year was the warm summer sun on my closed eyelids as I lay in the grass, that was the year of sharp crystalline shards of light bouncing off the unspoiled snow and shattering against my skin, and there were the endless miserable days of the heavy, lazy purple light putting a strange purple haze around everything. And that's why I'm a writer and not a painter- I don't know how to describe that purple light, besides saying it was heavy and oppressive, and how do you paint light heavy?
And there I go, saying strange things, a prism twirling little smears of rainbow thoughts around the room. That's why I need the bright white apartment full of light, to burn my mind's eye clean. I've just always imagined the light in Paris being so hot and pale, in the morning as I sip my black coffee and pretend not to be a morning person. The light here is leafy and golden-green, filtering slowly through the canopy of glowing leaves to settle, dappled on my porch. This is not the sort of light that can shine harshly around my hole-in-the-air black silhouette. This is not the sort of light that glares right up the edges of my profile so the void of my presence can be filled as much as possible by glorious light. This is the light that settles shyly on your skin, like a ladybug. I need light that isn't afraid of my shadowy self.
I carefully pull the amber-tinted lampshade off the dented brass lamp next to my bed. My reflection looks dark and twisted for a moment before dazzling white light sears my eyes. I close my eyes but there's no blackness, only a frantic hallucinogenic swirling and rushing of blood in my eyelids. Purple-red flowers bloom and fade seamlessly into another bud and green shooting stars drift lazily across the pulsing red mists, and I wonder if anyone else has such a weird world behind their eyelids. I open my eyes again, and I can feel my pupils happily contract into pinpricks of black in my green eyes. I stare enchanted at the glowing filament, wishing I could burn like that, instead of only being a silhouette, absence-of-light, watching my eyelid world with detachment from the coffee-fueled frenzy of my body.
I tentatively reach out to the lightbulb, as if I could pluck it like an apple from the garden of Eden, rip out the secret of its fire from its glassy shell, and press the burning filament into my own heart. My finger brush the hot glass and I pull them back sharply, mostly out of habit. I stare at my fingertips as they bloom red, all my lively blood rushing to them. It didn't hurt at all.
I clasp it now with all ten fingertips, as if it were now some crystal ball that could give me an answer, or tell me the questions I ought to be asking. Now all ten of my fingertips are perfectly matched, reddened and burned, with little blisters raising on the pads. I wonder idly why it doesn't hurt. I press the thin pale skin of my left arm to the burning hot bulb, then watch with interest while a perfect circle of burned skin swells up. Moving slowly up my arm the way I always used to wish somebody would kiss me, I press my arm again and again against this bulb that might give me answers or questions or knowledge of good and evil or light. I've heard that there are drugs that can simply be absorbed through the skin, and I think light might be one. I wish I could have all this light running beneath my skin instead of the tired, thinned out, caffeine and nicotine laced blood.
I wonder if everyone in the world has gone as numb and curious as me. I ring the number of some guy who loves me, and probably thinks I love him. I tell him to come here so I can see the way the light falls on his face. He must love me very much, because this seems like a perfectly good reason to visit and even I can tell that it's strange. Here's another thing to wonder- what does it feel like to be in love? I keep trying and failing. Another reason I've been finding more solace in light and less in literature these days- I can't sympathize with unrequited love. It's very easy to make somebody love you. I do it sometimes when I'm bored and have light in my veins like today. Falling in love is another, altogether more difficult matter. He arrives and I wonder if I'm going numb to time as well as pain. I wonder so many things, and don't really care about any of the answers. It seems my lightbulb gave me questions and not life after all.
I say I needed to see him one last time. I say he can't save me. I say my soul is black and dark and filthy. I say I love him. I say a lot of things I don't mean. I say I want to jump. He says he can't live without me and begs me to promise I won't. I think I couldn't settle for any death but self-immolation, death by light, but I say to him that I can think of nothing but the ground rushing up to meet me. He kneels on the ground before the chair where I'm sitting, and whimpers and cries and hugs my knees. It's mildly entertaining at first, nice to know something in the world can still feel pain, but I can't help but think how ridiculous he looks.
His arms around my shins burn as much as the lightbulb should have, and suddenly I'm disgusted by him. I can't stand the thought of him touching me. I can't stand the thought of being in this dim confining house with something between me and the sun. I kick him off, frantic now and I feel like I can't breathe. I want to bathe in light until he's never touched me. I run out onto the lawn in the shy sun-dappled yard and collapse. I lie on my back and watch the leaves glow in the sunlight.