Mise en scène

Music played somewhere as the blue sky and clouds washed over her. She looked to that place, as though it was beyond her and not within. That somewhere was her salvation.

Perhaps this film was it, some token of affection from the universe in that here and now. So she projected herself onto the screen. There in that meadow she began to breathe, as she tried to forget where her body began and ended, with her imagination she started to mesh herself into the mise en scène. Trying to make possible the dichotomy of the self and the unreal.

So she left the room, she left the screen before her, aware that it was a video floating and nothing more, but aware that the unfurling juxtaposition of images; would from this point on, be the only thing that made sense anymore.

She needed the clean air in that meadow to drive out the smell of jasmine and sheets, stained with something that was once hers. The ruffles of cotton and white snow enveloped with something more sinister, fleetingly tried to touch her.

The little girl ran her hands through the tall over grown grass, leaving that moment, leaving that life at this point in time was essential, so it was here that she had come.

The notes filled her heart in place of a sorrow she did not understand yet, but would, years from now – a lullaby no mother would sing to her.

The ground held her but she was certain, so sure of the pit underneath. A swamp, filled with murky water she did not know how to swim in, right now but someday would.

Years had passed since then, as she sat in a room and all she saw and didn’t see before her were letters. Her eyesight was failing her now, it would end someday – the doctor didn’t seem to understand what he was saying to her. That time mattered even more, but all he seemed to be able to tell her was how little time she had, maybe months, or a year to look for that film, the film that saved her all those years ago.

It was time, a place in her history, that she had buried now, buried with the light of day. It wasn’t the blindness outside her that she wanted to dispel – it was the one that was within. The one that did not allow her to go beyond a certain point –

She was sure, so certain that if she could find that film, the one she had watched all those years ago as a little girl, all would be well in the world again.

She made her way up the rickety staircase, the staircase of her childhood, which was where she had left it. She wondered after all those years, what childhood was, the innocence of eating an ice cream for the pleasure of vanilla as opposed to eating an ice cream to fill a void somewhere, a void that she had tried to fill with every substance under the sun. All that was left to fill that void with, was cement.

She found him; he was in the same room he was always there and a part of her was always there with him too. Locked in that room, praying, hoping for an angel to come but no one came. The scriptures had failed her, just as his love for her had failed him and had led to this moment where she had to ask the question.

When she asks him about the film from that day, he asks her, why now? Why bring up the past after all these years?

She looks at him, I don’t want to start a war; I just need to know what that film was.

He replies simply, I don’t remember. She turns away and as she does, everything fades away, darkness encloses her and she doesn’t see him cry. She never sees him again.

In the end, all was black, but it wasn’t the lack of colour that had taken away the shades of grey, it was the sadness that filled her heart. In that moment, all the hope was lost.

Years from that day he died, sightless, she had slipped into the pit. The swamp had her now; it was where she wanted to be. The swamp smelt of jasmine, it was made of cotton and his hands edging out of her memory, violating her over and over again.

Amidst a soiree of black and black and jasmine, she sat as the last rites were read over mind, body and soul. She heard it, before she would ever see it… The deceased had requested a song be played.

Then the tune from that field, from all those years a go played and in his death, he had not forsaken her. She was no longer in the soiree of black and black and jasmine, the music filled her ears, filled her lungs with clear air, gasping she surfaced and rose out of the swamp.

She was there once again, older, taller amongst the tall grass, underneath the blue sky; she saw, she finally saw what she had not all those years ago. That all along it was music that had saved her soul that day. She felt the breeze against her face, in that meadow all colour came back into her life, all colour came back and she lay back in the meadow and smiled, it was over, not because he had died but because she had set herself free.


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