In the dark she broke out of the dreams she was confined to, reliving the glossed-over version of herself in her head that she loathed, imagining herself in situations that will never be a reality.

It was the immortal rebel that lived inside her, keeping that hope going on within her, because in the end, it’s the only thing assuring that she doesn’t crumble under the expectations of those she loves.

And they said love was unconditional.

And yet, she’d go on with her life, living each moment in a constant uproar, trying her best to pretend that she was actually good at this game of Ataraxia.

But the sad inevitable truth still remained, that she was running among the shadows of a constant riddle in her head.

She would try to escape, she really would. She would hope that tomorrow, when the sun coloured the floor under her bed, she too, might get to warm her feet in its ruby haze.

But those tiles never failed to send chills down her spine, throwing her back into the grey she had become so accustomed to.

Sometimes, she saw the beauty of it. How some of the greys dulled in comparison to others. The sky, for instance, would be a beautiful grey on rainy days, as compared to the dark, dull, fading grey that would make the edges of her sleeves.

She would try and live through her reality everyday, fighting the colours that would try to come out, whitewashing them with the lies the world fed her- her whole existence just one big cloud of smoke, trying to be unnoticeable.

But in the deep dark secluded thoughts she could breath in, she secretly dreamt of setting an alarm off, hoping against hope that someone would notice her pleas. Hell, she didn’t even mind being a sidekick to some drunk she picked in the dingy alley across the street.

Such wild fantasies.

Once in a while, the tables turned. The rules were thrown out of the window. The greys were all but shadows.

She would let pastel into her life. Not too much, but just enough.

Enough to get away from the expectations. The hopes, the aspirations.

Enough to text him how sorry she was, and enough to down that Daniels she had saved up for.

Enough to let go of the ocean she had caged.

For those few hours, in the safety of her drenched pillow, storms broke loose and thunder raged on.

The froideur beauty on display was gone.

In the dark of the night, she would pray for a colour that would not stay, and embrace the nightmares that comforted her restlessness. Now, they were all but a luxury to even think of.

And as she would feel the warmth of dawn engulf her, she would collect her pastels off the bed and shove them into the drawer in the corner.

Her grey pants hung behind the bathroom door.

+Manushrie Verma+


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