“Today create a piece in which a speaker is visited by a messanger…” Room to Write, Bonnie Goldberg, pg. 178
She always visited The Dead Man before she left. If she exited the sculpture garden by the east stairs it was on her way out, more or less. Even when she was in a hurry to be somewhere else, she would stop to pay her respects to the vertigris statue of the dead man laying in his bed. Today was no different. Today, she hoped that the ritual would bring some peace to her mind. Nothing else had.
“I’m just…muddled,” she had told her friend when she left. The walk to the garden hadn’t straightened the whirl of thoughts either. She had sat on stone benches and scribbled long hand in her journals, but she couldn’t even put her finger on what was wrong, much less a find solution. There was something missing. She had put away something that she needed. Bells chimed somewhere in the world behind her and she knew she would need to be at work soon.
She gathered her things and stomped up the steps that led around the side of the museum. The confusion in her mind made her dizzy. The world was strangely colorless. She couldn’t bring herself to look up at the sky to see if it had become overcast. It didn’t matter to her if colors ceased to exist. A hedge leaned in high over her head. It seperated The Dead Man from the rest of the displays, created a green bedroom for him and the woman who leaned over him mourning.
She stopped suddenly when she realized there was someone else standing before the statue. Her heart raced as she recognized the short, dark-haired form of her friend. Her ears buzzed and her throat went dry. She followed me! she thought. And her heart brightened so much that she could once again see the deep greens of the grass and bushes, the strange blue of the weathered copper statue, and the dead gray of the flowers someone had left in the mourning woman’s hands. And she could see, once again, the blue-black luster of her friend’s hair. She made a little noise in her throat. It was a note of joy that tore through her body.
The figure turned then. The Asian man looked to her quizzicly. His face was as smooth and flawless as her friends, but darker and more angular. Not the same. Not as pleasing. As his lips parted to say something, her smile sank down, tied intimately with her stomach. His eyes lingered on her as he stepped by.
“I’m sorry that smile wasn’t for me,” he said over his shoulder.