Definitions of stories are enough to say that they are the way our life runs, works and expresses itself. Every act, every action, every single gesture or word is a component of that story that we tell by living. Then, let’s write a different story, one that would not describe a graduate life as a report, but one that conveys the sensations that graduate students feel in their day-by-day journey. Let’s put a character in the middle of something, a character that shows the way we are, faces reality the way it is, as many of us do. Although generally known as fiction, sometimes narratives can be the only way to clearly describe what we feel, what things are and not what they should be. Enjoy.
It was cold. Yet, not that cold that you may associate with snow, ice and low temperatures. It wasn’t that easy. It wasn’t that banal cold. No, it was cold because of the colors that surrounded him in that moment. Grey, white, light grey and blue…those colors that are around you when you don’t feel like being there at all, on that chair, in that moment in time. There? At all? What was coming to his mind? Perhaps, it was just the long grey line that he saw before him and led to a damned grey pond from where it was always too difficult to get out. Things in the mirror are closer than they appear. Nope. Things in the mirror may be closer than they appear. Or maybe not. Maybe there is not only peace in this flat thing, maybe there is chaos and it is right to call it that. No easy smiles, thanks, I want to move forward.
Just three points out of seven were pinned on his “to do” list. The page kept scrolling, his touch-pad getting worn, his time split between his laptop, his smartphone and some pictures of a past that sounded like the future. Representations, mediation, words, word after word, dear after dear, best after best, although there was no rest at the end of that division. Images could better speak for what he felt or, rather, the colors of those images were what he was trying to paint his life of. He wanted to be there, on those shores, in that sea, among those people. It wasn’t just the cheesy complain of the wet-and-freezing business man in the 8:50-am-late-January elevator, where everybody would fancy sand and margaritas and all of those stereotypes that are good at nothing. It wasn’t that, it was the need to dream outside of that office, his office, his damned, grey, white, light grey and blue office.
Stood up and walked out of there. Luckily, the colors of the fall could help him to think about something else: a glass of wine sitting before a long and warm vineyard, the smell of fertile ground at the sunset. Even books and words were able to be attracting again, in that context, far from all their cold translations into flat surfaces. The presence of time to think, to imagine, made him breathe again. Was being far from what one would call home more a physical matter, rather than mental? Where was he in that moment? Was his reality just made of stones and steel and wires, or cold and warm colors were part of it too? Too easy to draw a grey pond at the end of that long grey line. The opportunity to get out there was in front of him, in those colors, and in his hand, in a phone call that was about to get him.
The story is open. There is no conclusion. Whoever may be behind that phone call, whenever it will arrive, wherever it will reach the character, we cannot really state a conclusion and put the word end to this story. Hope, possibility, opportunity, chaos, chance are the words that conclude this post, but leave the story open and the life of this character far from being unfolded.
Banner Image by McGill GradLife Instagrammer @na0mirlima // @gradlifemcgill