Part 1: a girl in a world

“Ok, lie down here, right next to me.”

“It’s cold. Is it dirty?”

“It’s ok, here, lie on my coat. And don’t worry, the grass are clean as its color.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? And it’s nighttime now, the grass are darkened.”

“You know the color of the grass right? Here, trust me, you’ll be surprised.”

“Ok, oh, it’s cold, the grass are wet. And the ground is hard.”

“It will ease your back to relax once you’re used to it. And it’s just the night dew. You won’t feel them in a little while.”

“Ok…”

“Tell me, what do you see?”

“The moon.”

“Isn’t it lovely?”

“That’s it? You dragged me all the way here just for…”

“Shh, just enjoy the view, don’t say anything.”

“This is a waste of time, I have a paper to write…”

“I’ll help you with that, but right now, trust me, just look up, relax.”

“Ok.”

“I can’t relax, the paper keep popping up in my head.”

“Try this then, close your eyes.”

“What?”

“Just close your eyes and do as I said.”

“Ok?”

“Close them. Alright, picture the scene you just saw before closing your eyes.”

“I can’t, I’m not that imaginative, and the words are dancing…”

“You can’t see the words, your eyes are closed. You see black. You see the dark. That is your sky now. See it. See the void, the vain color of black.”

“You are being ridiculous. How can I see with my eyes closed? And see black?”

“Then let us picture in your mind something more familiar. What else is black? Your hair, your dark thick hair you always like to mess with your hand. Your color, the favorite color you’d wear every day. Your room, the room you always like to keep in the dark even though you know it’d hurt your black eyes.”

“Huh.”

“Ok, now erase those images. Let’s try again. Picture in your mind a dark wide void. It’s not nothing, it’s the black. A canvas. It’s your sky. Your painting. Are you there yet?”

“Yes, I think I am.”

“Picture the moon, a tiny bright pearl on your canvas. Draw a little circle and fill them with white. The kind of white you’d like. The kind in the light posts’ light glimmering in the branches of trees. The same kind that shadows you in your nighttime walks. Picture the fading light you’d love to see, the white kind of the cloud in the morning sky, the faint light white.”

“That it is, the scene we just saw.”

“What’s next?”

“Relax, loosen your hands. Feel.”

“Feel?”

“Yes, feel. Feel the wind.”

“It’s freezing, my face is cold.”

“Then don’t feel it. Let’s try again, feel the ground.”

“It’s kinda contradicting you know. And funny.”

“Shh, just lay flat and feel. Relax your muscle. Feel the hard ground below you being soften as if you are sinking into it. The coat is a blanket over the bed made of grass and dirt. A soft bed with a pillow. Feel the fluffy feathers you’re floating on.”

“I can use a good sleep now.”

“Go ahead then, haha.”

“But I still feel cold.”

“That’s why I brought an extra coat. Wake up first, put it on.”

“Ah, this is so warm, and so comfy. But my face is still cold.”

“Feel it this way. The wind outside is roaring, shredding, sweeping. It spreads the harsh, slashes the skin, eats into your body as if it tries to freeze your soul. But you feel warm. Your body is covered in feathers and silk. You don’t feel that wind. You feel comfortable, you feel the wind with its tenderness when it touches the surface. You are shielded. You feel safe.”

“Well, I am.”

“What color do you see?”

“White I think, like, the heaven white. I only see a paradise-like scenery with all that bed and feathers stuff.”

“What do you feel?”

“Relax, I guess? As if I’m floating.”

“Ok, that’s good.”

“Let’s return to your painting shall we? A black canvas, a moon.”

“The sky.”

“The stars.”

“Yes, it misses the stars. The stars are flickering. They are tiny, and they are few.”

“You’re getting there, picture the picture, draw it, expand your view.”

“Expand?”

“Yeah, make the picture bigger.”

“How?”

“Like a true artist admiring one’s work, take a step back. Away from the painting. Like, float away from your painting. Do you see the view from above? Everything is getting smaller and smaller, those tiny bits are as if disappearing.”

“But it’s all black down there now.”

“Then you have your painting like you haven’t painted it. Let’s start again. What do you see now?”

“Black?”

“My bad, wrong question. What do you want to see?”

“It’s kinda hard, I don’t know?”

“Ok, then let’s try it this way. Don’t see anything now. Feel. With your bare feet.”

“Feel?”

“Feel, what’s there under your feet?”

“Nothing?”

“Then make something, just like you’re drawing. Feel the sand. Tickling, sticky tiny grains of sand under your feet. You’re standing on sand. You’re standing on a beach. At night. It’s all black ahead but the yellow sand lit up. Let’s walk toward the sea shall we? Wait, let’s not. Fly, hover, over the sand, to the edge where the waves would touch our feet. Feel the water. Now, the cold. Feel the waves hitting your bare legs. Just stand there and feel it, the splashes, the sand. The sand. The waves pull the sand toward the sea. You stand there. You stood there. Feel the sand moving below your feet. Feel the place you’re standing on crumbling.”

“Ok, let’s just stop there for a bit. I don’t like that feeling at all.”

“Hahaha, it was fun to try wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, for a bit…Ah, I have to sit up for a bit, lying down like this really hurts my back.”

“Well, we just lied down for less than minutes.”

“My back hurts.”

“Are you pouting?”

“No…”

“…”

“Wanna try again?”

“Nah, guess not. But that was interesting. I know what I can see down there now.”

“Down there?”

“You asked me before we arrived at the beach, when we flew.”

“Oh, and what can you see now?”

“Home. Like literally.”

“You mean?”

“We’re half way around the world from home aren’t we?”

“Oh, that, yeah, home is on the other side now.”

“Do you miss it?”

“…”

“…”

“You know, there’s a song.”

“Yeah?”

“I miss home.”

“…”

“…”

.

.

.

He opened his eyes and turned off the music from his phone. For a moment, he just lied still and stared at the stary night. He felt the wind sleeping on his face and the dampened grass under him.

Sighed. Stood up. Walked back.

*************************************************************************

Author: Minh Vu

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