Side-story of Dyeing from Of Ants and Umbrellas
My eyes caught the white card on a shelf as I prepared for work. Every time I saw that card, the bitterness filled my mind, but I couldn’t put it away―it was a symbol of my pain of the past.
We were not true lovers, it was just a delusion of a moment. I’ve tried to think like that. At that time, I had a girlfriend, but it was true that I was attracted to her talent, not my girlfriend’s love. When I talked with her for the first time, I found she was different from others, and that difference aroused me. She always had cans of ink in her bag and colored her skin with many kinds of colors. It was just her habit, but was very impressive for me. On the day we met for the first time, her hands and arms were dyed with dark blue which verging on black.
I was not surprised when she told me that she would study abroad. Miyu was the only person who understood my intention. As I spent time with her, I realized that she is not the kind of person who fits this country, Japan. I knew that she would go somewhere in the near future, but I tried to put those thoughts somewhere in the back of my mind. On that day, her body was dyed with ultra-marine ink.
When I received a post card from her, the memory of that year came to my mind. The card was blank. There was no message. However, there was an URL which includes her name, ‘Miyu Hashimoto.’ I couldn’t stop typing on the keyboard. It was the URL of her homepage, and I noticed that she had become an artist. If I had answered ‘yes’ to her question, ‘Will you go with me?’ what would have happened to me? Would I be living with her and working as an artist? Or was there another future?
If I had told Miyu that I would go with her, she would have been surprised. Even though I knew that she didn’t need my answer, and did not imagine that I would answer that question, she would have smiled and said that she was glad to hear that. We would probably have continued spending time on drawing at her artier, making graphics on the bridge girders, and sleeping on her bed. If I had told my girlfriend, Anna that I was going to study abroad. She would have looked dejected, but she would not stopped me.
If I had gone with her to London, I can imagine that we would be standing at the airport in London. I follow her going to the art school that she and I spend for about two years. Soon, she would distinguish herself at that school and it would be quite natural for her to become an artist. In comparison, I would feel disparity in my ability and hers, and that would make me worry about my own future. To tell the truth, at that time, two years ago, I had realized this would happen, but I didn’t want to admit the fact. I knew I would have been able to do well at the school, but I also know that it did not mean I would be able to make a living out of drawing. She was gifted, but I wasn’t.
What would happen to us if I said that I would wait for her? I would continue studying in Japan and after the graduation, I could go to London and support her work as a manager or something. It was also possible to wait for her until she came back to Japan after becoming a great artist. I could study, get a job and work as a designer or something in Japan until she came back. She might be surprised to see me working as the ablest man in the company. After she came back to Japan, I would propose to her and she would say ‘yes.’ I might have children and live in comfort with my wife, Miyu and our children.
But she would never come back to me – that idea made me to come down to earth. She did not need my answer, I had already realized. She did not need me anymore. She could stand by herself and I knew that. Her artworks crossed my mind: a whale painted in yellow, a grasshopper and a spider of gradations of color from violet to light blue, a peacock drawn in black ink, and a richly colored ghost. There were also many works that she and I brought them completed. On bridge girders, there were many graphics that we had done as an artist unit called ‘Hands.’ She would definitely become an artist whether I decided go with her or not. My future might be somewhat changed if I said ‘yes,’ but her future might not be changed. There was a huge gap between the gifted and the common person. She was a gifted person and I was a common person, no more than that.
I took the can of light blue ink and sprayed on my right hand. I was half relieved and half feared. When she was with me, I could have felt that she and I are the same when the color on her skin had colored my body. But now, in the picture on her homepage, I could not find her colored hands. Her body and mine were now in different colors. I understood that I was separated from her. I looked down at my hand dyed with forget-me-not-blue.
2018. 7. 17