A Visit to the Second Floor

 

“Home is a concept, I think, rather than a place; a concept we carry with us, or lose altogether, at a certain point.”

This was what Enk explained to his son Hulm when asked about the meaning of home. Home, was the concept Enk was drawing. A drawing as unclear to Hulm as Home was.

Enk drew with charcoal, only black blunt tip charcoal pencils. He thought that since black was the only color missing from light, light would always seek it. And since black did not reflect any light, rather it absorbed it all in, then it was more capable of absorbing emotions, secrets, hidden desires and unspoken lust.

Black is the color most secretive, most mysterious, and most greedy. Like the Ka’ba in Makkah, hiding tremendous secrets under its black veil. Even the women around the area where Makkah is, cover their lives in black; they wrap their secrets in thin black cloth. The really expensive stones are wrapped in black. Oil is black. Pupils are black.

Charcoal is earth, the old parts of Earth, the ripe wisdom. Charcoal does not cover all pores of the drawing paper. It would not be natural to do so. Just like earth would embrace the tree, but still would allow air to infiltrate through and worms too.

To Enk, it always seemed that the only natural way to draw anything, or actually possible way, on paper, or tree leaves, is by the exact things that Earth is made of. For paper, its charcoal, with it’s complete absence of color.

The only other possible logical art form would be water art. Not water colors on paper, but water in water. Water is special in that regards, where it forms art when ‘in’ as well as ‘on’ other objects, everything else is ‘on’ screen, save for architecture and sculpture, which would be only ‘in’.

But water, as much as it is fluid and gentle, can be fierce and non conforming. And it is definitely independent and exclusive in its art.

Enk had moved in to the second floor of the family building, only when the old family house in the city was demolished. It was removed from existence when its maintenance cost ran very high. Just like people, when they accumulate illnesses, and they become too costly to maintain, they get removed. Transformed into another useful form of energy; coal for example was some people, who were removed, buried, disintegrated, and became charcoal that can draw pictures; pictures without color.

He had refused to leave the city house years ago when his family moved to the building they are in now. He had Raheema and Demoozi there. They lived together for the years that made most of the children’s childhood. Then he decided he did not want to live with the kids anymore. The girl and the boy were then sent to the building, to live with the grandfather in the third floor west. And next to the grandmother in the third floor east. When Hulm arrived into life, and with the mother disappearing, he was brought up by grandpa too. This one though, is still consuming his years of childhood in the building. Hulm is the only one who did not know the old city house.

The reverse applies for the family of cats; only Nao knew the old house.

The first floor in the building and second floor east, were vacant.

Enk, was, to be precise, living in a single room in the apartment, door to rooms around where he stayed were closed, not locked, but hiding empty spaces. The room he occupied had everything he needed, including whatever is needed for his own elemental fueling needs of food and cooking utensils. Environmental control necessities and of course, drawing books. Drawing tools and finished works. He would sit on his bed, and sleep on it. The only other area he would use was the wash room. The room was cluttered except for the immediate area surrounding him which contained well organized different size drawing papers, pencils, cigarettes, and all the tobacco accessories. The colors of the room were all dry; dry grey, dry brown, dry dark brown. No light colors, no white, no hint of living nature.

And there was a small aquarium, with a single fish of an unknown species.

Enk himself conveyed a feeling of dryness, could be through the way his skin seemed to feel, his ever dry mouth, eyes without moisture or luster, dry cough, and speech. He did not like to talk much. When and if he got into talking, really got interested, he would talk for hours on end. His voice was hoarse, again, dry. He drank his vodka dry, and ate his steak bloodless.

He was never seen crying, never heard moaning, never complained.

His decisions were always final.

His art, was as he called it sometimes abstract, other times conceptual. He explained: “When I draw, I wipe off all the make up, remove unnecessary details, erase all the color, bring back things to their basic elements; the basic elements that when one is removed, the concept will be lost. I seek clarity; I want to make the concept visible, raw, and blatant. I want to see what I think. I draw concepts that are mine. Some may be able to see my drawings if they share my concept, those who don’t, do not have my concepts.”

Hulm did not like his father; rather he was curious about what he was and what his thoughts were. Enk, to Hulm, was bottomless and featureless, was gloomy and isolated. Some of Enk was in his two other children; the remoteness, the independence, the un-realism. But Enk was unique in not looking forwards for anything and for not awaiting anyone. He was unique for being at peace with being alone. For Hulm, his father could have been a self satisfying hermaphrodite; like earthworms.

“See HulmEnk would never use any term of endearment with his son.

“One can have one home, numerous homes or no home at all. Peace lives in the ones who find their home within themselves; because that is the place which will stay.

People, who link the concept of home to a physical landscape, will ultimately move away, or the place will disappear, or more dramatically, stay but change, and become indifferent to its occupant. Those will suffer, not only because the place they call home is lost, but the bond they had built will not be conveyed into another bond, or other intimacy. They will seek home in other places, and never find it, missing out on many other potential homes in the souls of people.

Having home in another person is sublime, beautiful. Some call it love. I call it escape. Escape because no human other than ones self can be a home to you, all of you all the time. The only person who can be that to you is exactly and only you.

A lot of people keep looking for others to reside to, could be because they are dissatisfied with themselves, and refuse to reside in. Or, are just too scared to do that. But you know what; no one will accept giving you anything that you are not willing to give to yourself first.

That is why you find me content and not searching.

That’s why Raheema is searching for her impossible love.

And that is why Demoozi is waiting for his invisible one.

Raheema thinks that by de-feminizing herself, she would attract the man of her dreams. She is insisting on the love of a man who she would have a complete relationship with, whole love, and have a baby made of love, She is using up all her energy fighting all of the towns standards, and ignoring the fact that love between a man and a woman in this town is a taboo even if it exists.

Demoozy thinks that by purifying himself, and polishing his soul, he would attract the complete divine love altogether, also ignoring the fact that although man love in this town is cherished and encouraged, having complete intact love, is a delusion.

They both worship the non existent; they both look for a home in other people.

They both are not happy with their space, and not satisfied with themselves.

I am not looking for a home. I passed through the stages they are passing through now.  I became comfortable with the idea of being my own home.

Now, after the peace, when I examine my soul. I don’t find home, or the need for one either. The charge has been neutralized. I lost the concept.

That’s why my drawing of Home here is all black; empty.”

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