Shades

The passageway was grey and the mist hanged low. It seemed like fog; it was inside the walls. I could see nothing ahead but a light. I was paralysed. I felt no terror, though I should have, nor did I feel sad, as I was bound to be. The only feeling that pervaded me was that of acute sense — a strangeness and an awareness of my existence in this foreign world that meant nothing, seemed like nothing, and passed like nothing. I leant against the door and watched the music flow. The tunes of an obscure piece by an obscure piano player played behind the air, inside the mist, and fainted into the light.

The piano sounded too heavily in my breast. I hear it now and I know not of what I think or what I remember or what I may imagine. A boy, no more than 6 years old, took one step after another ascending the staircase in the dusk. The door was shut, or it was ajar — I cannot be sure. But the dim violet light was all around, barely discernible, like darkness. The memory haunts me. I do not know of what import is this image, I do not know how real it is, and I do not know why I may remember. Was it a shaping moment? Was it a moment of beauty? Of melancholy?

The world, in all its incomprehensible might, hangs all around me. It presses too heavily. How can I catch that heaviness in verse or in prose? Some obscure piano player did catch it in but a note or two. Yet again, the piano holds within its keys the secret. It hides and reveals the four elements and the six passions. It covers this shrouding life.

We were sitting by the light of a few candles. The rooms were cast in yellow and shade. I remember I was happy, or at least content. But at that age, what did I know of happiness or of contentment? What need had I for contentment? She was there, and we played. Mother was there, and we loved. The void was not yet gnawing and gnashing. She was not there, no, but she was to come a few years later to sing and to indistinctly dance. And then she was to leave. The boy would ascend the staircase and I would listen to music, and cry — cry like the stone that gushes.

I think I might have seen that passageway. I trod that staircase many a time, and I opened that door and walked freely under the pressing skies, but never was I to be sure of that feeling which caught the boy’s eyes. Never was I to close my eyes and touch but by the shape of the misty tunes. 
 The piece ends. All that I have written seems alien, and I, therefore, must cease.

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