Nemo’s Nic-Nac Emporium: Ch 1. Purple

 

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{Chapter 1: Purple}

“Why purple?” I asked.

Because it is the shade of royalty.”

“How do you mean?”

Are you familiar with the tropical mollusk ‘murex’? It is a predatory sea snail. The mucus glands of murices can be used to create a purple dye—‘Tyrian purple’. That’s where it first came from.”

My befuddlement at this explanation must have translated to my face, because Mr. Nemo stopped tinkering with the tiny clock in his hand when he looked up at me. He smirked (as subtly as he could manage to) and continued:

“It was extraordinarily rare and difficult to produce. Tens of thousands of murices, in addition to a considerable amount of labor, were required to create this dye. It was, therefore, notably valued in its rarity. Only esteemed members of nobility could afford such a luxury. So you see, purple is the shade of royalty.”

“And that’s why it’s your favorite color, is it? Isn’t that sort of twisted, being drawn to something because of its exclusivity? Don’t you think color is the sort of universal pleasure that everyone, regardless of class or ranking, should have access to?”

The clockmaker chuckled and resumed his work. I felt my cheeks growing red, his laugh, whether or not it was meant to be, seemed patronizing to me. After a few more minutes of fiddling with his clock, he seemed to finish up with whatever it was he was doing with it. He set it aside and looked up at me once more.

Do you think me a callous man, Arthur?” he asked, quite genuinely it seemed.

“I think it’s awfully cruel and regressive to reinforce or romanticize any sort of hierarchical system in the modern day, whether or not that reinforcement take as simple a form as the preference of a color.” I felt strongly about this, and attempted to convey my words with a degree of intensity that would not be lost on Mr. Nemo. He considered my words as he took off his eyeglasses and rubbed the lenses clean with his shirt.

Perhaps. And yet, is it not equally cruel to deny a man the power of indulging in extravagance? Is it not also regressive to discount the possibility of growth? He will never aspire for greatness, who has nothing to aspire to, my boy.”

“I don’t know if I value indulgence and extravagance the way you seem to. ‘Greatness’, as you describe it, seems to be an elaborate mask of a term used to disguise vanity. In a similar vein, ‘aspiration’ can be equated with a fruitless endeavor to prove one’s superiority to others. It is not so much callousness I identify you with, Mr. Nemo, but an alarming inclination to tend towards conceit.”

“Aha! But, Arthur, my dear boy, do you derive no pleasure in differentiating yourself from me? Do you find no sense of delight, not the slightest, in distinguishing yourself as the antithesis of a sybarite such as myself? Are you not, in the satisfaction you achieve in drawing the distinction between your morals and my own, putting yourself in a position, be it one relating to a spectrum of ethical righteousness, of superiority?”

Preposterous! No. Of course I was not putting myself in a position of superiority. Yes, I was glad that I didn’t share Mr. Nemo’s demented outlook on luxury, that I didn’t agree that some are more deserving of it than others. But does that mean I am no better than he is? How could that be? Does my overwhelming discomfort at being likened to someone like Mr. Nemo support his assertion? Am I indeed, in my evident need to see myself as someone entirely separate from him, just like Mr. Nemo? Are we all?

While I sat in silence and considered his peculiar convictions, Mr. Nemo found another clock to tend to; this one was rather large with a brass mantel.

“Mine’s yellow.” I said after a while. It was all that I could manage to say, because, at the moment, it was the only thing I was absolutely sure of. It was the only contribution I could make to the furthering of this conversation that had not been tainted by the seed of doubt that Mr. Nemo had so unperturbedly planted in my mind. He put down the crown wheel in his hand and looked up. “My favorite color,” I added, “it’s yellow.”

He smiled in a way that I can only describe as quaint, and softly asked, “Why yellow?

 

 

 

Fragmented Fondness

 

Inconclusive

Fireworks

Blackness happens in explosions

In your eyes, where the magic is born from butterflies

Never healing the pain that comes hand in hand with sentience

 

We are amidst everything

Nothing

All the same

Bumblebees buzzing, carrying messages to the faint-hearted;

Telling them to stay strong during this time of uncertainty.

 

We are not destined for liberation, not in this lifetime

I don’t know how to fall out of love anymore

Not today, I can’t forget you today

 

Your many faces are blurring into each other

But, the same every time

Kaleidoscopic visions roll their eyes at me, chuckling

I never really knew you

Not really

 

Fading, messed everything up because I could

Never said hi to you either

You wouldn’t have liked me very much anyway, I think

It’s all kind of useless I guess

Sadness is necessary, he told me

“Gives life purpose, don’t you think?”

I don’t know

I don’t like the way it feels though

 

Conversations rising up into the air like cigarette smoke

Dip into the ashtray and leave my sighs to cool down there

I’ll want you whether or not it’s good for me

First impressions are hilarious aren’t they?

Sword masters weren’t appealing upon first glance

You were an acquired taste, love

 

Get close enough

Let me scrunch my fingers into your hair

Smile with your soul, boy

With that radiance

That unapologetic candor

All black everything,

No ivory to dilute the darkness was ever found

Except for the soul,

The soul was grey.

Flames of Delirium 

So far I’ve come, since I first started, since I first lost myself

I’m still lost, but that’s not the point anymore, is it?

Because what does it matter, whether I find my way or become further entangled in the maze I fashioned once in a dazed state? 

You know me now 

And although I rest at the very bottom of the forgotten pile of fleeting thoughts at the back of your mind, 

I suppose I’m satisfied. 

And let me tell you something, something I’m not sure I understand myself yet, at least not in its entirety 

Satisfaction is not what I imagined it to be. It is, if anything, even more empty and unbecoming than the chase, for it begs that sharp, painful question–what now?

A question that brings with it, quite inconveniently, a battery of still more difficult questions: Where do I go? What do I do? Who do I become? Who am I, really?

Because the truth is, I don’t know. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. And I don’t think I’ll know even when I’m close to the end, whenever that is, however that is. And maybe all of this was just a distraction my mind dreamt up to keep me from seeing how lost I truly was, and now I know again. 

But I can’t trivialize you like that, can I? You were, you are, important to me. You, or my truth of what you are and what you mean to me, taught me how to revere, how to admire and cherish for its own sake. You taught me how to believe, how to hope for something I knew I could never have and persevere in spite of that knowledge. You taught me, I think, how to love.

Maybe that’s why I’m having such a hard time letting go. Maybe that’s why I never really can. Because how can I release back into the universe what I found in its deepest hidden crevice when I most needed it, when I was so close to losing any hope I might ever have to find a reason to smile as wholeheartedly as you made possible, and wonder. 

Yes, you made me wonder. You made me pause, and think, and question everything I’d previously accepted as fact without taking the time to observe it objectively. You made me curious and excited, and dimmed my senses just enough so that everything else would seem brighter. 

So it doesn’t matter to me that this fire you ignited once inside me was burning for the sake of distracting me from my inability to piece myself together. It doesn’t matter that the fire serves no purpose anymore and that anyone in their right mind would know that the time has come to put these fiery flames to rest. It doesn’t matter that I’m supposed to be satisfied, because I’m not, because I’ll never be, because I’m human. 

So stay with me, now and forever. Invisible to them, here, by my side, inside me. You are my strength, and you are my weakness, and anything else I am remains in between. 

You are as real as the flames you are represented by, the ones that will burn on for eternity, if I have any say in the matter 

You are here, you are always, and you are mine

It doesn’t matter that you don’t really exist.

The Voyage of Our Youth

It’s been a great couple of days. I’m starting to remember how I used to be, what I used to want, what I used to crave with all that I was. I’m making an effort to retrace my steps, to unravel this caricature of my previous self and find some genuineness hidden at the center. I do miss myself, I do mourn who I could’ve become.

Why do we dismiss the dreams of our youth as foolish impulses, naive trivialities, as though they didn’t once mean the world to us? How do we so easily forget that time, in which we pondered endlessly the universe we live in presently? Aren’t we disappointed, that of the millions of wondrous ways we imagined this very moment, it turned out this way– rather mundane and unbecoming.

I want to protect that train of thought. I want to sit there and enjoy the journey for as long as I am able to, for I have tasted the destination, and it isn’t all that I made it out to be when I set out to find glory.

 

Chasing the Man in the Moon 

Something about before that spelled opportunity 

Like anything was possible 

As though nothing was too vast or difficult to conquer the way so many things seem now

There were no inhibitions 

Magic was as commonplace as its absence seems now

Hope echoed in the innermost circle of the Elysium that was our imagination, radiating warmth so that we were at peace inside and out 

And it is kind of hard to acknowledge that it all changed so quickly 

A moment, or some indefinite span of time,

What does it really matter?

The magic is gone 

And reality is here

The truth sharply jabs at us as we try to experience the happiness we once felt unconditionally in the form of an ephemeral high 

Daydreaming of the bliss

That’s the thing about letting go of the past 

It’s immensely more difficult to let go of that which brought us joy than that which was painful

Things are not as glorious as they could’ve been 

We have been stripped of opportunity 

Someday is here, and we have nothing to show 

We ran with all our might toward the grand, magnificent Moon, 

Hoping to witness him up close in all of his greatness 

Only to find a small white speck that we must squint to discern, his true form

The curtain falls, the charade is over

We look around and at each other

Even you look different 

Less patient, disappointment has weathered your soul 

The promise of Nirvana was as fruitless as the chase of the source of the light that we seemed to have made up inside our heads 

There is only darkness now 

Where do we go from here?

Pre-REM

It’s late. I’m sleepy, but I felt there was something I needed to say. I can’t quite remember what it is anymore, I’ll probably end up dreaming about it though.

I guess I’ve been thinking about how tired I am of pain, in all its forms. The process of feeling, completely, is no longer something I think I have the energy to maintain simply for its sake.

There’s pretty music playing somewhere in the back of my mind now, feels like the start of something new, something less still, something rather than nothing. 

I am finding that it is time to make the transition into living for myself, I am excited at the prospect of discovering what that will mean. 

I believe I am finally ready to emerge from the ashes of my former self, anew. 

I am allowing myself to sink comfortably into the river of my self, no longer afraid. It is not that I have learned to swim. Rather, I now know that drowning is an essential experience. The world beneath the water is dreamier than that above it. 

I am ready to find out what I’ve missed on the pursuit to achieve what never existed. 

I am transforming. I am learning, slowly, what it means to live. 

Gifts from the Ghost of Happiness Past 

You know those happy dreams?

The ones that make you sad?

Because you didn’t appreciate the people in them 

And now you can’t 

The happy thoughts and moments 

That break your heart

Because you didn’t soak them in 

And now you can’t 

Don’t you wanna hold her hand 

Now that you can’t 

And stare into those somber eyes, searching for secrets, until you can’t remember who you are anymore 

Don’t you wanna breathe in that compassion

That passion 

That honesty 

Where did the time go?

Is it slipping still?

How often do we make these memories

That never quite perish from our subconscious 

That linger somewhere in our mind 

Lulling our anxieties

For all of eternity

I’d like to tell you that I miss you 

That there are some things that I think I forgot to say

But the raindrops on my window are telling me that you heard them anyway