The Colours / Compos Mentis ??

When you have to ask yourself whether it’s too early to start drinking, the answer invariably is Yes. But Vincent didn’t ask himself any questions today. He hadn’t asked himself anything when the colours started but his hand couldn’t keep up and just dropped the brush and grabbed the bottle instead. Deep red flavour but spoiled by something like charcoal. Musty taste of graveyard dirt and old-lady flowers. Even the wine evoked colours, more smudges of skies melting, seeping into each other. There were some more cheap bottles, hopefully enough to stop the heavens and translate the spin to himself, where it would be at least confined to this ruined head…

 …head head infernal head sulphurous eyes colours pouring in fiendish wounds sounds of a world complacent but you couldn’t paint sounds or could you or could you or could you…

…the clock slowed down to a glass-ticking pace. Around half past glass eight, Paul crashed into the house. Bloody patronising, awfully brilliant Paul. With his island girls and his sharp contours and his condescending little smile that just said it all, didn’t it? He had tried to explain something to Vincent, what was it, something about leaving, about not living with a damned lunatic a minute longer. What lunatic was he talking about? They lived there with just the two of them…

Bastard. Was Paul’s mind so lucid that he had to numb himself with drink? Were Paul’s thoughts and impressions so overwhelming that his reason sometimes left him and his body shook of delight and pain? Did he have to daze his senses to sleep? No, Paul simply knew everything, the correct posture and attitude, the way to behave with the ladies and to brawl with the field hands. His mind was locked in place and closed and he didn’t see what Vincent saw all around him and ALL THE TIME!

Yelling had been a bad idea, very bad. Paul did not appreciate that, now did he? He had grabbed the Egyptian-blue cloak with the golden threads and had waved it around, looking at him with this macadam mask, this stone smileless face. Vincent was paralysed by the billowing cloud, it was too much, such should not be in this failing world. He fell back into his chair. A colour cosmos besieged him, his eyes spun like those of a newborn who has to come to terms with the appalling number of shapes in the world. Paul had disappeared and Vincent had continued counting time.

At a quarter to glass twelve he wrote a note, “Keep this like a treasure,” but he couldn’t find the scrap of paper now and had no idea how many glasses ago that was. Who did he write that for? Paul wasn’t coming back, was he? The world resisted all his attempts at solidity and just kept pulsating, turning, throwing new colours at him. And Vincent found no consolation in the fact that at least he knew first-hand that nothing is but that everything is perceived. And everything that was perceived wished him harm or ecstasy, wished him out of this life. There was no system or promise or relief. But why not?

The razor was substantial, the cruel metal shone grinning. Everything quivered, but the razor was substantial.


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