from light to darkpublished: 2018-05-22
There was a girl. She lived an outsider in the land of the living. She wore purple. And she had long hair tied up in two pony tails which shot out from right above her ears. She liked wearing matching white socks. She also liked sharpening her colouring pencils into tips that each had the same length and point. She’d put them in the order of their colour. From light to dark.
There was a choir at school. She loved the songs they sang. They were about a baby born under a star of Bethlehem. Or of gloria and excelsis and those sounded like places she might belong to. She wanted to be in that choir and to sing those songs.
The choir master listened to her sing. He had said: no. She wasn’t good enough. And so she stood in a corner watching the red-flushed cheeks that trembled as the mouths opened and closed. The girls were beaming while singing, together.
She cried, she pleaded. Please she asked, can I join in? Can I try?
She went home to her pencils and studied them. Resharpened the already sharp pencils. Reordered them. She did not use them. They had to be saved for something special sometime. She cried herself to sleep. For a few nights.
Her father saw that she was heartbroken. And one night, he asked what was the matter. She quietly told him. He felt sad for her and said he would try to help her.
That next day, she was allowed into the choir. The choir master put her in the back row, while she was short. She stood behind a friend, her mouth came up to her friend’s collar and she couldn’t see past the tall girls in front of her. When she sang, her voice disappeared into their bodies. She heard it bounce back to her and it didn’t sound right. It was choked and false.
On returning home she overheard her father explain to mother how he’d taken care of this. He laughed when he said to the choir master he should just put her somewhere in the back. What harm could it do? Nobody would notice or hear.
The girl went up to her room and felt miserable. She now had two choices. To keep singing no matter what or how. Or to step out of the choir. Then pick up her pencils and start drawing the choir, colouring the way the music sounded in her mind. From light to dark, and all sorts of colours in between.