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December 12, 1997


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I stare at a blank page. White, the color of hope. The color of nothing. White emptiness fills the screen, white light from the fluorescent bulbs above, white hot rays of sunlight heating the cement outside. White. I gaze at the blank page, slowly filling with tiny black letters. Tiny black letters font eleven, type Calibri. Do they hold a meaning? Are they convincing? Do they make one feel, smell, hear, see, taste? Or do these letters, these miniscule letters, mean nothing. Nothing in the history of the world, just there to fill the empty spaces. To create contrast between good writing, and extraordinary writing. To prove life existed, evidence. Small, clear, black writing. Would anybody understand what the author intended? There are an infinite number of definitions of the word “white” just as there are an infinite number of perspectives. Does this mean that the writing is really what it is? Does it change, move, roll, like everlasting oceans whose waves swelter and seize to halt? Then, surely, one is not reading what I am writing. A strange thought.
My fingers pause, suspended in the air above the keyboard. The dust particles soar around my fingers as if urging them to drop. Slowly pressing down the key ‘M’, I halt once more. I rub my legs, straightening the creases in my pants, trying to stall for more time. I avert my eyes to the flickering screen, mocking me. Today, it seems, the muse hides herself from me. Lurking in my shadow, behind table legs, underneath my chair. I gingerly place my hands on the edge of my chair, and letting my jacket hem sway over the edge, I peer down. Only dark red, green, and purple stripes stare up at me. I pull myself back up. Head held high, chin up, and fingers poised for that one spark of imagination. There are uncharted territories, undiscovered truths, answers to questions many have. My galaxy, simply stopped for the moment. I suck in my breath, letting my chest heave in. But this time, the dust particles remain still, no swirl of encouragement, no dance of inspiration. When I can hold my breath no more, I admit defeat. My tale of desperado paused. For now.
***
I stand up, looking from the computer screen to the door. I rest against my chair, edging it towards underneath the desk, to only be a rectangle of blue, waiting for me once again. I walk past all of the desks and mindlessly stare at the countless zigs and zags on the carpet. Now the door lay in front of me, daring me to turn the knob. I do. Why did I stop? Why didn’t I finish the world I had created? Only questions fill my mind, no answers relieve the pressure mounting. My empty life story lay still, uncompleted on the screen. I don’t turn around. I keep walking forward. Down the empty hall, passing the empty classes, behind me, empty footsteps. What lies ahead? What lies at the end of the hall that I am impatient to reach? My ears popped and everything around me muted. How could everything mute if there was only silence before? Lockers, azure and gleaming to my left. Lockers, blue and shining on my right. Memories rapidly flood back. I blink my eyes, agitated. My breath comes in gasps as I try to remain in control. My eyes close. I think about my story. All the urgency there was to finish it. My eyes open. Lockers, navy and beaten to my left. Lockers, blue and bent to my right. Quickly, the image fades to the innocent steel of the replaced lockers. I walk faster. The endless rows of blue, left and right, seem to surround me, capturing me in the sense that I am safe. I feel as if I am not. I walk faster. The end of the hallway is within reach. Closer. Closer. The lockers end. My breathing slows. I regain my composure. White and magenta walls adorned in handprints surround me now. No memories. The memories are gone. I walk up to the wall, letting myself feel intimidated by its sturdy cement, and height. I raise my hand and press it against a red print. A perfect fit. A smile tugs at my lips. The moment feels suspended. Only my hand and red seem to fill my mind. I stare longer. Red. Flashbacks resurface from its long caged room in my mind. My mind seared with pain as if knives were stabbing it repeatedly. Red. I blink once more. Red. I take my hand off the handprint and rub my eyes. Blood. The echo of screams bounced in my mind. The loud crashes and bangs of students ramming into lockers, desperately trying to reach the front of the chaos. To escape. To reach those double doors at the end. While those doors, remain still, staring tantalizingly at the riot of students with flailing hands and desperate eyes, witnessing the terror that happened on December 12th, 1997.



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