By Ellen Bao
At the beginning I thought it must be her hair that had drawn him.
With the colour that reminds me of golden wheat in the sunrise, her hair rests on her back, meekly, reassuringly, like an infant lying fast asleep.
I wonder if he sees through her hair the promise of a good dream, where sweet, echoing melody rings, and a subtle scent permeates.
At the beginning it was always the hair, the eyes, or the lips.
At the beginning the truth had a hideous face.
Through the mirror I see a darkening sky with a residual light where my hair was. At a different time, there would be a forest of spiky strands like a hedgehog fidgeting on my shoulders.
I wonder what kind of dream my hair would promise. What kind of tale would it tell?
We were sitting in the garden in front of an elderflower tree.
Your let yourself sink into the sun lounger.
I was relishing the moment of leaves flickering in the soft breeze, and the dappled shadows cast on the fence.
You let your eyes stray to the sky.
I was thinking how much I would like to capture it all with my wearied brushes and residual watercolours: the tree, the shadows, you with your eyes half-closed.
The wind rustled lightly through the leaves overhead. Your breath, softened and slowed, became part of the wind.
I let my eyes turn towards you stealthily.
In close proximity, your face reminded me of the last painting I saw with subtle pencil lines and pale colour washes.
As if your heart was made of a fragment of the sea, I leaned towards your chest and heard waves
lapping over the edge of stones.
I closed my eyes to see the clear blue water teeming with light.
At the end it was not the hair, the eyes, or the lips.
At the end it was not the truth or its hideous face.
For the last time, the end loosened my grip.
In the illusion of time we stand back to back like lost lovers who no longer remember each other’s names.
Photograph: john shortland via Creative Commons and Flickr