First of January IV — on Escaping Life and Fighting Death: The Hermits
There I was, about a meter away from Schiele- with my eyes shut, I realized in horror that what I thought were two fighters was actually one unified and dual body, and that the enemy’s head now resting upon Schiele’s shoulder was that of no one other than his friend and mentor Gustav Klimt. Schiele looked at me with eyes as big as I had ever seen, and that look, that gaze I will never forget, violated my soul in all its depth, penetrating it from within and breaking it as if it were a small blouse on a body that is way too fat.
Disoriented, I was plunging into the darkness again, as the room filled with the smell of old cigarettes. The floor opened below me and falling, I lost sight of Schiele and the tall white marble ceilings. I fell for minutes, maybe hours before I realized I was not going to touch the ground again.
Around me a flock of open red eyes and black birds were enclosing me into a flying cloud of confusion that I could not see through. Screaming for help, I had been doing too much, wanting too much, even living too much. I realized that the desert I was attempting to cross just a few hours earlier and the trap of confusion I found myself in now were just the same place: a place of doing instead of being, where a lost mind cannot find anchor.
I realized I had been running away from my shame, my fear, and my regrets with no clear direction. I had been wanting to live and to die simultaneously.
I fell back on the white marble, this time, hitting my back. For a moment, I thought to myself, why not lay here on this ice-cold floor, die silently, and hide from the world? But I was reacting: I struggled to get on my knees as my muscles and head ached from the fall.
I stood up in front of Schiele and looked right back in his eyes. I did not know why or how. I stared right into death, like I stared into my mom’s strife for survival and into my stepdad’s corpse. My lashes are heavier than my heart, and my face was covered by salty tears.
I admired in utter terror the depiction of two opposite twins fighting for death and life, torn between and united by both the desire of death and the yarn for life. And all within a golden frame. Nothing less and nothing more. That painting was nothing more than a dignified, gigantic stain of war, death, and color. How could it be doing all that to me?
Something painful was hiding in Schiele’s mad gaze: it ran in the painting like blood. And so the painting started bleeding from the frame, from the ground, from the sky. The whole white shiny floor was soon of a deep red, staining my shoes and my pants as I moved incredulous. I looked down and saw my reflection, a sad and scared little girl, held back by her own self like by a straight jacket.
Covered in blood, dark like the ocean, I started panicking and hyperventilating, trying to get rid of that hold so tight that it suffocated me. Was I really going to die in torment, victim of my own self? My ribs and lungs were burning sand by now. I was surely bound to truly lose my mind shortly. I ran and screamed for help, but in front of death, I seemed to be utterly alone. I didn’t have much time.
I was no longer able to hold back everything I had been hiding in order to protect others. It all came out on the marble floor in a reeking black smoke, and a considerable amount of dark, gory puke. I was then not one but two in the self, as I had always been, scratching, punching, and biting over each thought and action: like the Hermits, I stood between a fetishized death and the golden lights of life.
How was this read? Could you relate? LMK in the comments. I am looking forward to your feedback :)