Darkness consumes me.
For most of my life, I have been curbed in this room; this single solitary room, with nothing but sheer darkness accompanying me. Sometimes it feels overpowering here; I feel breathless, confined and terrified.
But no, I am not trapped, nor am I forced in here. No one is locking me in here to see me suffer and be tormented. The reason that I am in this room is because I am waiting. Yes, waiting… waiting for that moment when light will once again swathe this dark and dreary place. Waiting… hoping… anticipating… everyday.
In this room there is no door and not a single window. The walls are painted with pink and yellow stripes. The floor, too, is pink, and its texture feels like someone has sprinkled glitter on it. A preposterous idea, really; glitter cannot shine in the dark. You need light to shine.
But there is one thing in this room that I think is sensible. There, upon one of the painted walls, hangs a mirror framed with tiny rhinestones. I stand in front of it occasionally, just to pass the time.
Like the stagnant environment of this room, my reflection always stays the same. My ebony hair is always tied up in a top-knot, and my fringe lies perfectly in place just above my eyebrows. I wear pastel pink tights, a cherry-coloured top, and a short stiff skirt made with layers of netting and pure white toe shoes. Have I always worn these? Have I ever seen myself in clothes other than this outfit? I cannot remember.
In this room, there is hardly any sound. Occasionally, I hear the twittering of a nearby bird or the harmonious chirping of a cricket orchestra outside this room. They are always welcome for they are my much needed company and my salvation from slowly losing my mind. Being in a box like this, put in the dark and silence… it can take a toll on your mind. The dark environment invites murky thoughts, weaving in and out of my mind, unlocking every worry, nipping at my nerves, prodding my agitation. What if my light never returns? What if she has forgotten about me? What if I am left here, alone, abandoned and forgotten, for all of eternity? The thought that I could be enveloped in darkness until the end of my days weakens my knees and fills my whole body with panic.
I shake my head to rid me of these thoughts. These figments of my mind do nothing but bring fear to myself. And when that happens, when overwhelming what if‘s override my brain, when I am feeling desperately lonely, I stand in front of the mirror and sing songs to myself.
“Somewhere over the rainbow… skies are blue… and the dreams that you dare to dream… really do come true.”
Do dreams really come true? If I dared enough, would it really? I dream that my person would come by more frequently. Her visits are becoming less and less of late, and I fear the day when she does not come at all. Please, I whisper to the rhinestones, I hope that she will open up this room and let me see the light again.
I hear her talking sometimes, a high pitched tone resonating from a tiny crack on the upper part of the walls. My heart swells each time I hear her voice. My breathing starts to race. A gush of energy zaps within me. She is so close, so close.
My person talks in a lisp and she giggles a lot. During her visits, she would smile as she watches me. Her whole face illuminated, her eyes bright and her cheeks coloured. She is my light. I want to say something to her whenever she looks at me that way, but I know my voice could never reach her.
So I just smile back at her.
She seems to understand me, letting out a small giggle.
Isn’t it amazing that all people smile in the same language?
I hear footsteps coming from that crack in the wall.
I could tell that there were friends accompanying her today. My heart skips a beat, as if it knows something that I do not. Maybe it would be today. Maybe today my person will unlock the opening in this room. Maybe today I will see sunlight once again.
When was the last time I had seen it? Last week? Last month? Last year? I do not know. Time stays still in the dark. Nevertheless, it does not matter, really, just as long as this day — oh, please, please, please — will be the day that she unlocks this room.
Anxiousness mixing with excitement, I skitter to my accustomed spot. I stand poised, my arms above my head and standing on tiptoes. Then I wait. I do nothing else but stay at my position and wait….
I hear muffled voices beyond these walls. I can feel my heart drumming, pounding heavily against my chest. I feel the ground beneath me shake. I do not breathe. I cannot breathe.
“Can I see this?” There is an unfamiliar voice talking to my person. My hands are icy cold, but my insides feel like it is on fire.
My person speaks this time, her lisp more evident today, “Ok! Shure! Let me open it for you!”
The ground beneath me shakes again. My heart thumps and thuds, my stomach churns and flips, my hands tremble and my feet shake.
I hear an audible click.
White light shines into my room, covering everything with its brightness, chasing away the darkness that previously lurked there. The pink and yellow stripes look bright and cheerful. The glitter on the floor shines like jewellery. The rhinestones on the mirror reflect the light and scatter it all around.
Everything looks like a dream.
‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ starts to play.
I start to twirl.
“She’s so pretty!”
“I know! She’s my ballerina, and no one else’s.”
“I’m asking for a music-box too, for my birthday next month!”
Their eyes are shining bright and their lips are curved up in pure joy. I smile back at the two eight-year-olds. This is more than I could ever ask for. This is the dream that I never dared to dream, for not one, but two of them, entertained, bright and happy just by watching me perform my simple dance. The music continues to play, and I continue to twirl slowly in my own arc.
In that room, darkness can consume me. It will take me down slowly, nibbling away at my edges, gnawing at me until I slowly find myself spiraling into a lonely, cloudy abyss. But I know there will always come a time when my person comes up and unlocks my room, and that is when my entire world is bright with a hundred rainbow colours. That is when I feel rejuvenated, replenished and as if I was reborn. And I know, nothing else could compare to that.
My eyes meet my person’s.
“I’m so glad you’re my ballerina…” she whispers, as if those words are only meant for me.
“I’m so glad you are my light.”
My words are silent, but my smile is brilliantly bright.
And she smiles back at me in return.
Fiqa Nazary reads up on acetylsalicylic acid by day, and reads British drama fanfiction by night.
Featured image adapted from “Transparent Heart” by kelsey_lovefusionphoto on Flickr