The Art of Boredom
Gemima Carreira was bored. Of course anyone can be bored but to perfect the art of boredom is to do it in such a way that you disguise its existence. She didn’t notice it creeping in, growing malignant inside of her, running through all +- 96560.64km of her veins until it became all that she was. And from there, what did she have to lose? What was there to give up?
Before she started to outline her image, she was a lively thing, birthed fresh, plump and full of life from her mother’s womb, (although it was all a bit gory) dreaming of all the things she would become and all the places she would find herself, playing cricket with bare feet or creating secret codes for her bedroom door (a spy cave for sleeper agents). But along the way, her story would take a devastating twist.
The feel of mud pies, forming into balls in her palms would lose its sweet, sticky euphoria and just become a chore to be dealt with later — a ball of dirt in her hands. Of course, she’d be kept alive with the promises of things that could be — spelled out for her in TV travel commercials, and woven into the excitable words of her friends recounting their weekends — a high-end gallery of only the most captivating art, containing every precious image you could rest your eyes upon.
She thought maybe I just haven’t grown enough and was kept alive and wanting for all the first experiences promised to her— her first cigarette (she choked), her first bra (it was impossible to believe she’d ever wear it by choice), her first performance (no one cares) or something as simple as a first kiss. This kiss would be the start of her most epic and uncompromising portrait, hours set to the soundtrack of whatever neatly manicured boy-band she was worshipping at the time, but then she’d come to find, it isn’t like that at all and the only thing she saw in herself was what wasn’t.
She was wedged up awkwardly against some hormonal primary school boy, barely out of diapers, as he ran the risk of spilling over at even the slightest touch. He sprayed his pheromones in her general direction with no regard for the litres of trendy perfume she’d put into her hair and on her skin, because she didn’t know any better, covering the dank nature of what she’d become. And the whole time his thick, eager tongue wrestled itself inside her mouth, she realised it was all a farce. She wanted to start again.
She thought back to the kisses she did like, playing Romeo & Juliet (a patron of the arts from a young age) and Kiss Catch, or the kind someone old gave her on the forehead when they were feeling tender, nostalgic and in touch with the last days of their lives. But even those provided no catharsis for the sheer boring, lifeless state of her existence — the empty white palette. And this is when she found herself momentarily looking for some excitement in death.
This is how sweet, temperate Gemima found herself, staring down the barrel of her father’s gun, awash with the light from the street that had bothered her every day for the last 7 years. And this is how she found herself painted to perfection in her favourite church outfit, hair curled loosely and fringe pinned up off her face. I never should have cut it.
She had acquired her brush of choice, a 9mm, whatever-calibre pistol (she wasn’t sure) although she did remember dad calling it “a pretty done deal” and she liked the thought of that. Getting the gun wasn’t a particularly climactic event, and she’d taken it as a sign that the universe was on her side. She looked for the numbers and letters protruding from it for an indication. Is it this one? A Baby Nambu? A Single-Shot, Strike One? Ah, here it is. A quick Google search yielded the instructions she needed to use the damned thing, and in less than 5 minutes she had acquired the only skill she would ever need again — perfecting her stroke.
She pressed the cold, lifeless circle to her forehead, imprinting the target and listening to the lullaby of the clock ticking perseveringly on the wall. She hated it for ticking like that, as easily predictable as a trip to the shops on a Saturday morning or the twist in every episode of every cop drama ever, but it would serve as an important catalyst for her escape.
As it ticked, and the hand fell one step forward, the time was decided for her. She gently squeezed the trigger, excited for the possibility of anything new.
I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid.
The painted candle lit up ever so brightly in her skull, with thick, red and white flames splattered festively on the canvas. It was a seemingly fitting spectacular — in celebration of her first thirteenth birthday.