Slightly Van Gogh
DF103


I sat upon a bench in the middle of an open hall, a single red flower in hand. Along the windowless, white walls were framed artifacts of time immortalized in painted frenzies by crazed men searching for a way of expression. The building heaved as the air conditioners circulated the air in a steady stream down the hall. The polished wooden floors creaked at the slightest shift in weight as I peered at my watch, before looking back up and gazing at the wall before me.

It's as if… I had fallen off of the face of the Earth.

That's how I felt at least.

I'd imagine it'd be something like... floating in space, far from everyone and everything. An empty sort of feeling that just detached you from anything you ever held onto. A helpless sort of feeling of trying to call out to someone, only to remember that no air existed for the sound waves to vibrate upon to let your words travel to the possibility of an open mind. A reminder of the state of being alone.

A single set of footsteps echoed down the corridor. A quick glance in its direction ended only to find that the one I was expecting was still not here. The guard took long strides from one end to the other, not taking a moment to get a glimpse of the paintings on the walls. Our eyes met and we exchanged glances. He doffed his head before making his exit. I reached into my coat pocket and grabbed my phone. A single press of a button and not one more.

I was a text message, sitting in someone's phone, unsure of if I were read or ignored, put aside for later, or just forgotten. The wait to gain some acknowledgement, that I was not the only one here, the only one trying to make a connection, trying to make it out in a world where people seemed all too busy for anyone but themselves, grew long. Was anyone out there?

An hour passed the promised time. Time was an ever-stretching optical illusion. I twirled the flower between my two fingers, as my foot inadvertently tapped away. Was it impatience or was it denial? Was it blind hope or was it fear? I stared again at the wall before me, Van Gogh's Starry Night. Perhaps this was the very madness Van Gogh had felt when he cut away at his ear. What did I possibly do to deserve such insanity? My mind began replaying episodes of our life and I couldn't help but focus on where things could've gone awry.

Did I do too much?

Did I do too little?

Did I say something wrong?

Did I do something wrong?

Did I not show enough love?

Did I show too much?

"Why are you still here?" a voice called out to me.

An old decrepit woman appeared at the end of the bench. She wore a bold red hat and a long red gown that ran to her knees. Using her emerald-colored cane as support, she took a seat at the end of the bench and continued, "Haven't you been waitin' long enough?"

"No, only a few minutes," I lied.

She pointed her cane at me. "You can lie to me all you want, but a gal like you can't keep lyin' to herself."

My heart skipped a beat, as I quickly turned away from her gaze and from her cane. And as soon as I had done so, it was as if a presence disappeared. I peered over at the woman again, only to find her gone. And in that instant, my surroundings reflected what I felt inside. A void. Alone again.

A part of me wanted to wait, afraid to face the possible truth that waited for me when I walked out these doors. But, time's ticking seconds and minutes, made her appearance that much more elusive, farther away from the the fantasy I fabricated that I so wished for to become a reality.

A part of me wanted to go, accepting that this was the reality I had to face. But, no matter how hard I tried not to, I couldn't help but want to hold her in my arms and take her out to have the fun she deserved. Couldn't help but want to have deep conversations and chats of sweet nothings with her. Couldn't help but want one last chance to wake up next to her, have her body against mine, her head under my chin and my arm wrapped around her waist. Couldn't help but want to slowly trace my hands down her arm and then intertwining my fingers with hers under the warmth of our blankets. Couldn't help but want to whisper one last time into her ear as her body continued to slowly move ever so slightly every time she breathed in the fresh winter air and let out the old, as I left a trail of kisses down her neck, before returning to sleep…

It was there that it dawned on me that this was the end of a failed love story destined perhaps from the moment her soft lips brushed against mine. I threw the flower I so carefully picked out for her onto the floor. In the end, friends would retreat to someone who would inevitably be more important to them than you. And all those who were close to you would, at one point, become the bitter enemies that brought out the worst in your human nature. But the most unfortunate of these circumstances came in how betrayal snuck up on you from the most unlikeliest of people, the people you put the most trust in, and how in an instant your world shattered. You couldn't help but hear a ring in your ear, a scream in the distance, only to realize that it was your very own voice, crying for some sort of salvation. An inner rage smoldering inside became the norm and a growing indifference to the world plagued you where warmth once dwelled.

In the end, mankind at its simplest form of representation, a person singly, was fated to be alone. And succumbing to these facts, if so society saw me as the burden, then I should let my spirit go and let my body run autonomously as it rotted a slow decay in its final glimmers of glory. When you began to believe that desolation is the reality and happiness was what's fake, for what duty did you have left to remain here? For what purpose was I keeping myself alive? The very thing that kept me sane was was the very thing that drove me to the insanity of passion and human emotion, far beyond the capacity of singularity.

I walked down these halls and out back into the world. Unfamiliar faces with long glances in my direction. And noise, lots of noise. Mouths moving speaking incoherently to air. Everyone seemingly connected to someone, somewhere. I could only drown myself in intoxication and set myself aflame as I only continued feeding the empty vessel. If she didn't even realize I was here or gone, then perhaps she wouldn't miss me when I really was. Perhaps, no one would. That made things easy. It was time to rub myself out of the world's memory, to erase who I ever was, who I became, and who I would've been. This void forever never to be filled, forever to remain nothing but a casket for a broken heart and lost promises, never to be unearthed by anyone again. And if so someone saw me for who I used to be and called me by that name, I could only insist that whoever she was, she had gone slightly Van Gogh, and go on about my day.