blog, Pat Aitcheson writes

A thousand tiny worlds

water droplets leaf_EvgeniT
EvgeniT via pixabay

I’m sitting in a place that is nondescript. A place where many come, but none stay. Nobody claims this place as their own. The chairs are thin on padding. They do not encourage you to linger, though you might be here a while. No art adorns the walls. No music plays. I cannot wait to leave this place, and yet I must wait here, for now.

But if we could peel back the blank expressions of this silent throng, what would we see? The pallid grey and institutional green vanishes behind a burst of colour.

A young man with precisely styled beard and hair jams to the red, emerald and black of reggae music. The mother with puffy, pale face is lit by a burst of sunshine yellow when her baby smiles. In the corner, another woman nurtures a green shoot of hope. By the door, an elderly couple sit together in a haze of calm turquoise. Two seats away, a veil of dreamy pink settles around a stern suited and booted man.

Of course, there are other colours too. A middle-aged woman’s flushed cheeks echo the rage that pulses red at her temple. Navy blue clouds of sorrow surround her companion. And in the furthest corner, hunched and small, someone is engulfed by a black void from which no light escapes.

And there’s me. I breathe slowly, trying to replace flashing scarlet and orange anxiety with serene lilac and purple. People check their phones, look at the floor, perhaps glance in my direction. They don’t see me. Their internal worlds consume them, shouting for attention and greedy for validation.

We share this liminal space as temporary fellow travellers.

We are all here, together. We are all somewhere else, alone.


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