The Reclusive Artist: Silence as a Broadway Musical

You’ve spent I don’t know how long in this room. Crumbled paper piles across the floor that resemble landmines on desert sand. I have to tip-toe around them just to get to the door so I don’t disturb you.

Music blasts from the speakers next to your bed. A radio is somewhere hidden underneath a pile of notebooks. Somehow, it looks like a rainbow has exploded over the walls and furniture. Paint stains the surface of everything including my own clothes. How do you live like this? I’d ask if I thought you’d answer. The only time you speak is when you want to hear yourself talk (which is a lot lately).

So imagine my surprise when you finally looked at me. There’s a red mark on your cheek from the paint and the hand that holds a paintbrush shakes as if it doesn’t know how to still. I ignore all that and take this moment in. See the timid smile on your face that’s supposed to show happiness but never reaches your eyes. I ignore this as well.

However, what I cannot ignore is what you asked. How are you doing? One of those simple questions that always wants a lie in response. A question that is never simple in its answer. When I don’t respond fast enough, you say I’m going to the kitchen, did you want something?

I’m not sure why that bothers me, but it does. Maybe it’s because I never answered your question or that I know you really don’t care. It’s just small talk to you and I hate it. Our conversations used to be of importance, even when speaking of nonimportant things.

We used to talk about music. Who’s our favorite artists, what our favorite songs are, even how those songs were structured. But then, you got into art and nothing mattered anymore. So when you asked me what I wanted, I told you not caring if you cared for my answer.

What I want? For you to listen.

If only that was as easy as taking out my earphones or pushing a mute button on a stereo, but nothing ever is. You’ve created too much noise that you ignorantly call music.

Even the air whistles a little too loud when it brushes against my skin. It’s like chalk clawed against a blackboard. Except my skin is the blackboard and there’s just broken chalk laying around that you won’t leave alone.

Who said I was art? I’ve never walked into a room handing out paintbrushes. Do you see my body replaced with a canvas? You’ve turned the world into a museum out of pride. Made an exhibit of your own ego. Chaos is everything you touch that you selfishly call a masterpiece.

Look how you displayed humanity on the stage. War is depicted in the background where you’re the center. What’s the meaning behind this? You’ve painted yourself in every color not realizing how distracting a rainbow can be on a grey setting. Or maybe you do realize and want the distraction.

You’ve forgotten what silence sounds like. That’s why you talk too much. You speak as if you’re Picasso, as if you’ve invented color and shade, as if you’re god and everything can be recreated in your image.

I see you as a reclusive artist. Someone addicted to the spotlight even when they’re skin is burning from the rays. Someone desperate to be cured even when the medicine is the disease. Someone who thinks music speaks louder than their own voice, who sees art as more beautiful than themselves.

Sadly, I’m the same as you. I’ve also forgotten what silence sounds like. All I have is the memory of its voice. Heard as a heartbeat in tune with the melody of my own breathing. Together, they create harmony. Haven’t you ever heard its song? Silence creates the rhythm we dance to. So when we speak, we’re singing. What I sing: a heart is not a home but a studio.   

Your voice can be beautiful, I swear. Silence finds euphony in all noise. It’s always listening. Say something and you’ll hear an echo. Do you know what that means? Hear how it amplifies your voice as if you’re god. This is silence saying you never have to pretend to be anything you already are. So lock yourself in a dark room and wait there. When you speak, listen to the song you’ve created.

You ask, if I wanted anything? Yes, I do. I want you to dance not caring if anyone is watching.   

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s