Dominic looked around, everything was either black or white. Looking into the mirror, he saw himself ashen faced, the kids sat in a corner, quiet and motionless, Natalie refused to show signs of life. She was all he had ever wanted, his childhood sweetheart whom he had gone on to marry and raise a family with, today, she looked dead. “What had happened to her?”, he wondered, “what about the kids?”. They were never quiet, the little bundles of energy, they were the centre of his universe.
Now he was all but a tree which had lost all it’s leaves, no flowers remained, no birds to sing and sit on it. He was dead while being alive. “When did the colour go out of our life?” He looked around only to feel even more convinced about the death of his near and dear ones. He was today a man who had lost everything he had. One who had nothing more to lose, he seemed lost; he frantically rushed out of his house. He could not see the light of the day, nor the stars and the moon.
He felt around for things, had he lost his vision?? Lost in complete self doubt, one that by now had consumed him in his entirety. Then in the distance, he saw a hue, a silhouette, what of he recognised not, but a sense of relief now engulfed him. He could now be sure that he wasn’t completely blind, as long as he wasn’t hallucinating. He had to be sure, he moved on forward, as fast as his feet would carry him: he seemed to be dragging dead weight. “Why weren’t his feet moving quicker?”. Only a day before, he was the nimble footed athlete, now he felt like a sloth.
The anxiety grew as he approached the silhouette, it now seemed to be in motion. He tried to move faster, only to feel even more burdened by his own weight. He felt his legs give away, thump! He was down, on the ground. He looked up, away into the distance, there was nothing there anymore. Suddenly, he felt light once again, like he was now being carried, his body rose, drifting about, squinting his eyes in an attempt to make sense of what was happening around him, he felt betrayed by the world around, he was now passing at speeds quicker than he had ever imagined.
“What do you value the most?”, asked a voice out of nowhere. “Think hard before you answer, for you have only one shot.”, the voice said. He thought hard, his entire life passing through right in front of his eyes. He saw James, his younger brother playing in the park with him, Champ, their Labrador, who had died when he was 15 was with them too; he was just a pup then.
Then he saw Natalie, how everything else suddenly seemed irrelevant, how the sunset was no longer just another routine, it had become “their thing”, it was no longer just the setting sun, it was a hue of different colours the yellow, the orange, red, the cool blue, the light breeze, more than anything else, her smiling face resting on his shoulder, talking about random stuff and then diving into absolute silence, delving in themselves, more like absorbing each other’s souls. Then he saw their own kids, Stephan and Lily, the twins, who had brought so much joy in their lives. All the smiles, the late nights, taking turns to stay up cleaning diapers, and feeding and playing with the kids, the grumpy morning’s after. The smiles, that stayed long, despite all the troubles they had.
Now he saw the the kids growing up, their first day in school, them running away towards their teachers and fellow toddlers: their new friends. The grey was just starting, he saw the first major fight after the wedding, how Natalie had cried all night long, he had finished the entire bottle of Chivas Regal, she had spent two nights at her friend Cindy’s. Things never got back to how they were after that day. The distance had only kept growing, they both loved the kids selflessly, the prospect of an eminent split however frightened them both. He had reached today..
“I want to go back to how we were great and loved each other. How Natalie and I waited for the moments we had with each other,” he said. “You’ll be late,” he heard Natalie’s voice, sunlight rushed in as she drew the curtains, coffee at bedside. he looked up to her and couldn’t help smiling. “Thank you, for bringing colour into my black and white life,” he said as he went in for a shower.
P.S: The photograph, is a painting by Bijna Balan, a friend of mine.