Mechanically the ink was scratched onto the paper to leave a dark, bleeding streak in its wake. Upwards jerked the pen next. The unyielding hand thrust another gash across the page. And one final stroke completed the shape. Again and again the hand emphasised the square, caging in its rigidity. Line over line condemned the unsuspecting quadrilateral for a life imprisonment to the corner of the page. My eyes looked on, but with no outlook. I believed the dull, dreary day was to blame for that. For my eyes had lost all inspiration to seek excitement as the hand, the very hand enslaving the square, had lost all interest in the creation of something significant. And so we were left, to merely exist alongside one another. Without affect. Without revolution. Without thought. Despite the shrill clangour of it, the sound of the school bell alleviated the numb children. The boy seated beside me, the owner of the pen, immediately shoved it away, zipped the bag and slung it over his shoulder. He shuffled forward, joining the mass exodus. His movement was as rigid as his geometrical drawing. My eyes panned the classroom. Impassive face after impassive face. I noted the detachment of mind and body in all, including the educator. He, too, had simultaneously engaged in the scraping back of his chair as soon as the bell had announced the conclusion of his chore. He, too, had engaged in the tedious erection of his body, the lumber towards the door, just as his learners had. Their movement forward is futile, I thought. They have no direction. But of course not, they were just surrendering to the path illustrated before them. The teacher slowed his departure to be the last one out of the room, to leave the classroom behind him empty. Pointless in my opinion, it was empty to begin with. I returned my focus to the lifeless mass ahead of me. It was as if a mosquito had landed on the world, and sucked out our colour. The people in front of me, surrounding me, had lost their brightness. The world was composed of darker shades of grey. Each individual had already settled for the dictatorship that their future was to evaporate into oblivion. Nothing noteworthy was forthcoming. Life was to be a vintage television, black and white. But not me. I felt the kiss of the breeze planted on my cheek, welcoming my arrival to the outdoors. The bright pink smudge from Mother Nature’s lips adorned my face as I strolled on. The wind had taken the opportune establishment of our institution to create a choir. The olive leaves had rustled in rhythm to the singing of the electrical lines. The vacant hallways had offered up their accumulation of burgundy bricks to add to the vibrant tempo. The echo of delicate swallow chirps had completed this rainbow of sound, which fell on my ears alone. My feet skipped alongside the trudging throng, in place of shadowing it. My mind was searching for liberty, in place of tolerance. And that is what it found when the uninhibited eyes of mine dared to glance upward. Behind a crowd of plump clouds hugging the sun, the sun released its buttery rays to embrace the world. The bright colour blended the crisp heaven’s ocean into an appetizing atmosphere. My sight relished the voyage of the sun’s arms into the fusion of the physical world. Until it fell upon the unforgiving shamble of humanity before me, jolting me back to reality. No. They may all be grey. But me? I’m colourful!

Published by Anja Cronje