“Between the Black and the White” explores different moods and feelings in daily life. It is organized into different keys that set the tone for each specific piece. It tries to capture the microscopic stories of life and zoom in to examine every detail.
3 a.m., a chilly winter night.
She is sitting on a bench beside Lake Lagunita, at the mercy of the wanton wind stealing the lingering warmth on her face. The moonlight is gently gliding across the ground, gravity dragging her down. A blanket of darkness weighs down on her. She cannot lift it nor lay it down.
She lives in the moment, yet these moments are too short in their divisions, constantly slipping into her past and her future. A wishful thought drifts into her mind — a wisp of malachite-like light that meticulously sparkles wit from above penetrating her — and fades before she catches it. She looks up to track the trail of stars.
Her grandma once told her that every star carries a wish for somebody. Oh, the sky is full of stars tonight. How many wishes are there in the world waiting to be fulfilled? Greediness of human nature. One, two, three … 14 … She scrutinizes each star until her vision becomes blurred. Shining softly, the stars slowly sneak across in the pale-gray sky in search of their places. Tears are swirling in her eyes, and for a while, she feels like crying — crying for a mixture of emotions that are too tender to let go of, yet too volatile to keep. Maybe she looks too hard for her star, or stars. How many wishes may she wish for?
What about that chunk of darkness, unoccupied by ripples of stars? She wonders what the stars are doing when they are not shining. Sometimes stars die before you have the chance to closely appreciate them, and that is perhaps what makes them memorable.
A curious sense vibrates her fingertip. A sense of excitement, anxiety, hope for the future — for tomorrow, next month or next year.
Yet why should one think about the future when the present is too glamorous to be true?
What’s up? A voice echoes in her mind.
She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know, and it would be rash to conclude that she wishes to know what she doesn’t know. The world might be more continuous rather than discrete, without boundary, doctrine and dictionary definitions but full of colors, shapes, sounds and momentum.
One has every right to feel the twisted horror, the anxiety, the failure, the disappointment, the dark, as well as the light of hope, contentment and delight.
Is it too much to ask for us to be sincere and honest about our weaknesses in coping with the unknown and the flux of feelings?
Waves of fuss surge upon her chest, fermenting an empty seed. Flashbacks from her childhood flood her mind, chopping down time. Those moments when she played hide-and-seek with her teddy bears, collected the mid-autumn yellow leaves, chased after the colorful bubbles; those moments when she anticipated her parents coming home for dinner during the weekdays, spent the night excited for a school field trip or anxious about an academic award ceremony the next day; and that one moment, the best vacation she had with her family in the Maldives a long time ago.
It was in early autumn when she found herself on board the airplane for the first time and landing on an island in the Indian Ocean. Frost, echoes of the rain on the roof of her transparent umbrella, those passionate yet tender caresses almost like time itself ticking by. Carefree and light-hearted, there she was, hopping on the beach, catching crabs barehanded, building the tallest sandcastles and watching them being crushed by the monstrous waves. That time she went snorkeling in the sea: she remembered being frightened to death, squeezing her parents’ hands tight and firmly clutching onto their shoulders, making them promise not to withdraw their hands from her no matter what. Would Time allow her to keep this promise?
Feeling her eyes wet, she blinks, dissolving and sealing up all the black-and-whites.