My job as an artist is to create life out of nothing, but at the time the nothingness was thick and sticky and I couldn’t shape it. I was supposed to take little bits out of your dark days and turn them into soft magic and chocolate sprinkles and things none of us believed in, but looked good on paper. I was supposed to make the black come out of dark caves and turn into silver lines. I was supposed to be the girl to make emotions happen trying them on first. And I was tired.
I kept wishing for a handsome stranger to come out of nowhere, and read out loud the words I had written, and for a dog to jump on the bed between us, and for the coffee to be spilled. Life would have made a stain in that second, enough to ruin my perfect ever after. I would have been forced to carry on living with imperfections the size of coffee stains on white bed sheets, and dog hair on my clothes, and unexpected smiles at the wrong time. But in real life, I was forgetting how it is to feel the rain on my skin and his love under it.
The truth is that safety is not a friend. Or if you like, safety is one of those friends who moan all the time because the weather got colder and the film got boring and they can’t find their matching sock. Safety is negative vibes if you dare to move. You’re sat down and forced to listen and obey – do not move that vase from the table or you will ruin the harmony and the alignments and everything you’ve ever done will fall apart. Safety tells you that you’ve surrounded yourself with perfection; do not reach it anymore. It’s there to be contemplated in silence. Do not enjoy it. Do not touch or use, or anxiety will grow on you like bacteria. Indulge into knowing that you’ve done it, that you’re sorted, that you got to Heaven. That you are as good as dead.
Which is why hearing somebody turning a what should have been a midnight ambiguous, delicious and slightly sexual conversation into yet another promise of security was, in that split of a second, blasphemy pulling the trigger of my automatic escape mechanism. Much more than the promise of safety I wanted the promise of never having to settle for a life of flipping through the pages of encyclopaedias to catch a glimpse of wilderness. I was scared at the thought of never walking through car parks at midnight again, hand in hand with someone who could teach me the art of having a loud heart and a quiet mind, shivering cold but with his warm coat and warm smile on.
My only real wish was outside the wish jar I stared at every day. It was the world, beautifully simplified and not showing its teeth to me at every turn. It was me minus all the weapons and the accessories and the promises I had to keep at every step. It was the richness of the moment that I didn’t want to feel guilty about not living anymore, because I should have been somewhere else, with somebody else, being something else. I wanted a hammock, a lake and foggy weather so I couldn’t see ghosts’ trace lines, burning hot coffee and the smell of second-hand books surrounding me. I craved icy cold freedom and open fields that didn’t have a maze, a catch, a goal I only set out of despair.
I didn’t want to be in the game anymore. I was so done with stretching and curling in bed at the memories of long-missed bliss, grieving over old agonies and yearning for new ecstasies. I was looking for more nights that felt vivid and surreal. I was looking for walking through car parks at midnight, hand in hand with somebody who’d have me surrendering my love and my fears and not thinking about dawns. And perhaps art would’ve followed that, like the loyalest of dogs.