The following is (part of) a novella I am writing; I will add chapters on here as I work through them. I would appreciate any critique or – God forbid – encouragement.

I

Imagine a blue sky, so blue it borders on the unreal in that it seems as if such a color could not possibly exist in nature, but only in the mind of an exceptional painter whose imagination has transcended mother nature’s palette. The blue is so blue that it blinds you – it is not the mighty sun that pierces your eyes, but the extreme and sincere blueness that stretches in what can only be envied as a strip of pure freedom. The blue, when you look at it closely (imagine this as well), is not of uniform hue; it is spattered here with slight hints and tints of darkness and there with shy, meek, and almost reclusive whispers of white. As you are peering into this magnificent show of light and color – bright and open, joyful and playful, honest and giving – imagine that your eyes suddenly land on a patch of pure darkness, pure blackness with not a tinge of light to be found in its disconcerting constitution. You do not just look at it but immediately sense and feel its sober significance. It creeps into your field of vision, slowly at first, but by its very nature – its movement and capacity to affect even the most stoic a spectator – it rapidly commandeers, tarnishes, and all but drives out your godly blue sky. As the thick, murky, suffocating thundercloud releases its water and pours it down on the earth, so do your tears stream in salty solitude down your face and onto your chest. If you can not only imagine but also feel this sequence of events – this interplay between the most carefree and exalted happiness and the bitterest and deepest sadness – you will be better able to understand our unfortunate hero, and the sporadic clouds of anxiety, pain, and suffering that so stirred his heart and mind and that eventually supplanted his blue sky altogether. These clouds caused him to abandon us far before he was actually gone.

II

It was already late in the evening when our hero closed behind him the door of the house he so adored. The street was shadowy and still, and after a few deep exhalations he languidly smiled to nothing in particular. He thrived on late nights and early mornings; there was just something about the darkness that, ironically, heightened and sharpened his senses. “It is during these dim times that people are brightest,” he had once thought to himself. He often thought to himself. He was still young when he realized that he was his own most receptive and critical audience. His acrobatic mind toyed not so much with its thoughts as with itself; he would often start a thought only to interrupt it with a snigger and its opposite. These sometimes serene but usually violent disruptions of his deep-seated internal dialogue tended to sway him from one conviction to its contradiction. If the funky American writer was right, and intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time while retaining the ability to function, our hero did this simple form of intelligence one better by fully feeling, in the center of his overstretched chest and along the soft creases of his burdened back, the implication of each conflicting idea. Yes, it is true that some are lost to the world in thought; our hero was even more frequently lost to the living in feeling.

III

The sharp light of the bus stop naturally and almost cheerfully separated his body and mind, redirecting his stream of thought far away into the night. Checking the schedule, he was indifferent to the fact that he would only have to wait a few minutes for the bus to arrive. What so many of his generation could not do without ample distraction – wait – he did with a pleasure, apathy, and sadness that was unrelated to actually having to wait, and instead was closely tied to his mood and to the direction of his reflection…