My life as a Nephrasian Hermalakka

Have you ever just dumped an emotion onto paper, simply to see what it would look like?

My life as a Nephrasian Hermalakka  

Some of us enter the world in a kind of daze, drift along the meandering currents of time, and slowly dissolve into the nether until we are nothing more than another sparkle in an ocean of multifarious evening sunset reflections. Others shoot into the world, careering from one oblique angle to another, deftly avoiding any correlation to known trajectories or currents, and finally shattering firecracker-like in a star-spangled banner of underachievement.

I was neither of these, nor was I a conduit for greater things, nor a catalyst for change. I was a Nephrasian Hermalakka, and that means I was tainted. Not tainted in a social or community sense, for no matter how few me may be, there are always Hermalakkan friends to be found for the lonely or ill-at-ease but tainted in the sense that I was never going to be anything other than a Hermalakka.

My life has been a strange one, and sometimes it seems that my memories are less mine than they are a gamut of weird tales, like a basket of inedible fruit that you keep because the colours and textures remind you of a vaguely remembered great work of art, and you keep keeping them even when the mould and filth consume them utterly until you forget just why you were keeping them at all. And so it is with my life, and has been for much longer than I remember.

I have always been fascinated by colour, and mostly by the changes to be found in single colours. A rainbow may hold my eye for a time but it can never be for long.  Lay my fragile body upon a bed of grass and point me to a clear blue sky and just leave me there. One, two or three days later you’ll find me bedded deeper in the grass, a home to busy and bored insect life, while a peek at my face will reveal the torment and horror of a sentient being living on the edge of some great discovery that can’t quite be coerced, dragged or even violently forced into existence. I have known others who can lapse into this state, who find themselves horribly and inexorably exposed to the evil twins of unrealised objectives and tortured inadequacy. A state of mind that resists analysis and denies an easy exit from its sticky bed of loss and regret. How can we possibly understand the glory and the infinite reality of shades of a single colour?

Of course, you may see all of this as being self-explanatory. As nothing more than a reflection of necessity in the face of blindingly obvious pathways. Sometimes, in moments of weakness, I too can see this as a possibility. But it doesn’t last for long. It never does. The broad, textureless aprons of colour fleeing into the distance will eventually drag me back to that state of mind where there are possibilities and causalities but never atonement. Like a dirigible wrapped around the wrong skeleton, my mind will bulge and stretch in all the wrong places. And suddenly nothing is obvious. Nothing.

As a child, my nursery was devoid of shades. All was bright or dark, coloured or black or blinding white. As tenderly as I tried, there were no subtleties of mode that I could adopt to change that. Sometimes, I’d sit on the ledge, dangling my legs below me and try to work my eyes into shapes that could change the world around me. Squeeze the muscles around my eyes tight then peek through my lashes to see if that brutally delineated world could be wrenched into a curve or a blend or a mix. I’d often stay in the one place for hours at a time, focussing like no child has ever focussed before and determined that it I just tried hard enough, there was a chance of success.

But success is not a cloth cut to my size. Struggle, anguish, doleful resentment and compressed violence are my daywear, while nighttimes reveal me in pyjamas of regret and loneliness.

It did not seem at the time that this was to be my lot in life. I am assured that we are all born with ideas of greatness. That we all have a dream, an objective, a hidden suspicion that we are on a pathway that will lead to some form of greatness at some unknown time in the future. That there is a destiny awaiting us that will unlock all that we, as potentially unlimited beings, have the ability to deliver. I too, thought that this would be my lot. It seemed reasonable to aim for bigger and better, to build my skills and bide my time until the moment would come when all would depend on me – and I would rise to that occasion and slay the bastard spectre of futility, sending it into the dark abyss forever. It didn’t really take very long for the angst of living to blot that dream from the grey, blotched landscape that was to become my mind.


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