Part of Colors.
The red light shines.
In the moments between the angry cold of crimson there is only darkness. The red obscures more than the darkness. When the light is gone I know this place. I’ve seen it, so many times, bathed in fluorescence. It has no mysteries, no secrets. But the red light warps everything. It flashes its quiet scream of momentary luminance, and this is not the room I know. The corners hide frightened shadows. The shapes are distorted. The groans and mechanical clanks that buildings make are innocent in the dark, but not in the red. There nothing is innocent.
I sit here in this red and black space. I could turn on the light. Maybe someone will walk in and flip the switch, and it will transform everything. Yank it artificially into the normality in which it bathes nearly all the time. The normality of chatting and lunchtimes and whining about bad customers. I sit in the red and black, and I know that any moment someone might walk in and shatter the world into light. And I will hate them.
I can feel hatred, in this place. An anger that is deep and unquenching and unquestioning. Meaningless. It consumes rational objection or perspective the way a white blood cell consumes a pathogen. Unfeeling, but righteous. Evolutionary. For the good of the bitter organism that is the hateful mind. I bath in the warping red light because I cannot run from the hatred. Not now. Not like this.
It isn’t real. I know that. It’s just hormones, circadian rhythms, seasonal affective disorder. But it doesn’t matter. It isn’t real, but it is the only thing that exists. I’m not going to make it. I’m not going to be able to handle the day. My mind screams these words at me, written in red on the back of my eyes. I know they are phantoms. Later on I will laugh and dance and bask in the light. That is the person I am nearly all the time, and I know that, even now. These thoughts are phantoms. But they are phantoms made of stone.
The light is all.
Later when I think about this I’ll dress it up with fancy words. Brighter colors. Purples and blues and greens. It’s all about neurotransmitters. It’s all about balance, feeling the harsh emotions to put the joyful ones into perspective. Later on, under the sunlight, I’ll believe those things. But they are phantoms. I know that, right now. Phantoms made of spun glass, but phantoms still. Right now, in a place so real and so strong that it shoves everything else away, there is only desperate, vicious fatigue. It doesn’t matter what produces the light. It doesn’t matter that it’s the LED of a snack machine, any more than it matters the origin of the metal that pierces your heart. There is only me, in this room, in the darkness.
And the red. So very, very much red.