By Ria Chaudhary
Art by Megan Xu
Issue: Scintilla (Spring 2019)


the type of tiredness that settles behind your eyes and doesn’t leave.
the type of quiet that twists your gut and unsettles your mind.
the type of moments that makes you wish for an alternate reality.

it’s not dark out, not yet.
the sun hasn’t fallen asleep.
the sunset is colorless.

your world is monochrome,
your life colored by shades of grey,
blurring, blurring, indistinguishable.

your emotions faded and wrung out to dry,
worn through by the people who came before,
hand me downs that don’t quite fit right,
borrowed clothes chafe against your skin.

perpetual dusk, perpetual dawn,
unreached potential and unused opportunities,
the curtain was lifted
and all the magic you felt
was little more than an illusion.

you walk down the path set for you.
the sidewalk is endless.
the buildings are identical.
your eyes never near the horizon.
the pedestrians are like ghosts,
whispering in languages long forgotten.

you are tired.
you’re just so, so tired,
and the darkness wins out.

sometimes the colours come back.
sometimes the grey fades to black.


the darkness whispers
quiet, steady tones,
to the rhythm of your heartbeat.

the nothingness gets stronger, more overpowering,
drowning out your thoughts
and ideas
and hopes
and dreams
with a steady stream of
nothing nothing
nothing nothing nothing

your mind is blank and racing.

the void so loud you might as well be screaming
but nothing comes out of your mouth—
your face is blank and your eyes are blank,
easily masked and easily masqueraded,
false emotions replicated through sounds and words,
and to seek comfort in the world around you is impossible,
it reflects your hollowness.

you’re gone.

not a blank canvas, not a new start,
not the pure, pale white you have come to expect,
swallowed by the type of endless grey that numbs your soul and your feet and your words.

so fill it—
fill it with books and music and art and work and friends
and anything you can get your hands on
but before you know it
the emptiness will consume them too.

alone once again,
you are left
blank, empty, fading.


the crowd is muffled and the colours are muted.
you can’t quite recall how many people are outside, or how you found your way home.
you can’t quite recall whether this is your home, your bed, your life.
maybe that’s the point.

maybe every now and then you have to hit mute on life and listen to the white noise,
the background static otherwise drowned out by your everyday living,

it’s almost peaceful, this lack of emotion.
you could stay there forever.
forever—forever’s a long time, you tell yourself,
but it doesn’t seem worth it to get up,
much less to go outside.

so you compromise and sit.
and you wait.

time ticks by
as you wish for the colours to come back.


I watch the colours swirl down the drain.
the neons and the pastels and the brights,
the shades that made the streets lively and the city alive,

all that is left is shades of grey
and the constant beat of rain.
in time with my racing heart.

there is a simplicity to be found
in a world devoid of colour,
just shapes and silhouettes and an essence
of what was once there.
a shadow of another world, maybe,
or a honest reflection of this one.

I see myself staring plainly back at me.
I see the potential in each colorless house,
I see what could be and what once was.

I am one with the rain,
I blend in with the shades of grey.
beautiful. simple. honest.

A solitary streetlight on a street illuminates the outline of a standing figure, half in light and half in darkness.