“Good morning,” a student says as he passes me in the hall. Although it may as well be another teacher, a parent, or even the principal. The response will always be the same. The socially responsible, acceptable, and expected: Good Morning. To say otherwise invites the tumultuous terror of interaction with others. To imitate a more intimate relationship, one may substitute the phrase, “How are you doing?” or some acceptable variation. Of course, social protocol indicates only a narrow range of nominal responses, most common of which is fine.

Thus, fine has evolved to a continuum of confluent emotional states. A man’s fine may be a prison that keeps the world out from his pain. A woman’s fine may be the star of her anxiety hovering on the edge of excitement that she hopes does not erupt into a nova. For many, fine may be a shelter that protects them from the winds of idle conversation that distracts from truer feelings.

I am fine.

Today, fine is black. Albeit, black is as inchoate as fine itself. Black in the RGB plane is (0, 0, 0); in the hexidecimal code, black is #000000. Therefore, black is the beginning and, thus, the absence of all else. Perhaps it is the space between stars or the dark hollows of Aokiogahara. A particularly fitting feeling for one who feels only loss and isolation among the throngs of solipsists.

I am fine.

Yet, the value of absence is its void. To the artist, the purest black is the juxtaposition of the perfect red, the most natural blue, and the perfect yellow. This communion is the sustenance of feeling and meaning one makes of emotion. Fine is the intensity, depth, and necessity of sentiment that is a maelstrom of emotions, each seeking dominion to fill the black void; yet at any instance in harmony and balance. The true power of absence is that it can be filled; though the filling may be a tribulation worthy of Sisyphus.

I am fine.

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