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Malinda Seneviratne © 2000


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Despite her "ceramic-ness"; she has to her a little niche in which I feel strangely comfortable. I can be random with her. Indeed I am tempted to become specifically random. I can braid irrelevance into purple bouquets and throw them at her face. She knows I am as "truth-less" as her when the two of us breathe the same air. And she doesn't care. And she is not offended. A great actor, I must say, she acts out "the happy," the nonsensical, the energetic absurd, the ridiculous hype all at once. Perhaps she is the best. In the stifling, thick cigarette smoke of an atmosphere where illusion tangos with what pretends to be "truth," I would kill to believe in one drop of her, one drop of "realness." But only when the two of us breathe the same air.

Frightening, isn't it? And is it not I, who claims to possess a profound knowledge of the actor kind? Is it not I, who fears not, the actors. She looks - loudly - laughable from a distance but upon closer look beautiful? This is not the right word. There is not a right word to describe this obscure close-up. My astigmatism does not even begin to be an excuse. From where does she gather her overwhelming power? Or how in the world does she "mimic" it so that each of us, torn between the disturbed reluctance and the captivating charm of "real-ness-less," find ourselves in mirrors, forever nodding away in agreement with a foolish smile glued on our faces.

A new page. Will anything change here? My mind is unbearably clear at the moment. It is as if I can solve all the riddles now. "Now" is when I know everything. (Is this where the world stops and "I" begin?) My time, however, is utterly finite. I am akin to a paralyzed body that is granted a day with its senses, a blind restored with sight for the day. I know I will not be able to walk this same path tomorrow unless I avoid sleep, and let my dreams float over to my day. But before I splash them to my hands and my face, before my subconscious stains these walls like some graffiti in blood, I must run away. Otherwise my wings-for-a-day shall melt, almost as a side-effect of flying too close to the sun like Icarus (and, I hope, not just because they are some disposable, post-modern gear in the manner of "edible underwear".) With my molten wings, I might fall, alone, in the middle of a circle called "everyone."

My hands cannot reach the violent pace of words that flow in between my temples. I cannot hold onto them; some fall on the page whereas some become forever trapped in the curves of the labrinyth that is my mind. If only a drop of this rain would last till morrow to quench my thirst in my cosmopolitan, ultramodern desert in the midst of crowds, and chaos and noise; water-less. Sound-less. One. Desert-ed.

But TODAY!! I am whom I always wanted to become. I seem to be equipped with a peculiar brand of courage. The words are spurting out of me, my mouth, my fingers, out my control. People smile, people laugh at me. Is this really "I" or the dream coat I ever wished to wear?

"How colorful!" they say. "It has stripes too.. The bottons are but miniature sunflowers. Women with purple fingers, we heard, weaved songs into it."

Is this "I?"

I too am nonsensical today! I too have the courage to step out of that circle in which the real allegedly resides. What a pathetic sense of victory this is? And plus, I cannot bridle my dreams every night. My dreams will take over in the hide-and-seek-gamble of the night. I was never good at hide and seek. Especially in the dark. For It is "I" who waits the light until my reflection slowly appears on the mirror. I must see myself in the mirror(s); one will not suffice. Only then, there is "I", only then it is "morning." I yearn for hard evidence.

"Uncertainties" are even worse than dreams. With them, we play "Win or Lose." And just before the "winner" is revealed, I always find myself in a new game with a sense of irretrievable loss. In the beginning I am always cold. The minute I begin to feel tiny purple sparkles of warmth inside, I know a new game is close. "When will I grow up!?" (I echo myself in the void of an ice-blue hallway, new and unmistakably familiar.) The grown-ups do not play "uncertainty," do they!?(The question mark reverberates forever as if situated in the midst of parallel mirrors.) They have more sophisticated games like work, marriage, money Or perhaps these are merely levels of one and the same game; the advanced stages of my own vicious trap. I heard so many other things... Globalisation, world peace, liberalism, democracy, human rights, free trade, justice Perhaps these games have outcomes. Perhaps these games are not as cold as my "uncertainties." But who knows? What if they burn me. What if I find myself nodding away like a lifeless mannequin as if at the presence of that best actor? What will the mirrors say then? If I keep my eyes down in shame, who do I look upon as "me?"

Today, it is different. The wall that stretches behind me is a mirror. It looks at I and I look at it, smiling, a bit broken, "You, again? I missed you. Where have you been today? In your absence, I learned to write my dreams and even draw their contours. I visited a dream factory that manufactures shoes specifically for insomniacs to walk fearlessly in the day-light and day-dark. It turns out "me and I" are not alone but that there are other insomniacs who wander dreamily in the light of day. (not to be mistaken with "sleep-walkers" though.) Some woke to the sound of 42 shots of gunfire that culminated in one body, some woke to the sound of "Seattle," some woke to the tender song a friend sang outside their window. They say they will never sleep again."




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