Watercolour, track 3 from Pendulum’s Immersion.
Album time, 5:04
We have some difficulty with breathing.
Our bed breathes. It rises and falls as we make it, neatly tucking in sheet corners each morning as required. The fridge in the communal kitchen wheezes, droning with its aged compressor. Centre cars gulp for air and trains snort. What gets us worst is when steaks and sausages respire, partially defrosted in the sink.
Our bag dangling on the back of a toilet door shouldn’t faze us with its inhales; we’re bobbing up and down bare-arsed where we sit, porcelain lungs beneath us.
Still, it’s a blow.
We can’t even piss in peace anymore.
Sick of this, we close our eyes and stare into mercifully still lids as we finish our business here. Minders will be in calling our name if we’re any longer. With a brisk flush and a slam of the seat, we unhook our bag and leave the stall.
The minders wave us over, and we shuffle in their direction. The gallery is awash with movement. Guides. Patrons with loud questions and secreted cameras. Security guards pacing, batons at their waists.
Statues suck in oxygen as we pass.
Pillars supporting the soaring ceiling spot us and sigh.
Gold-plated frames expand, stretching their canvasses.
The very bones of the gallery compress.
The world breathes.
We feel faint. The wall is no support, and our hand slides from it as we overbalance. The minders’ hands reach for us. We try not to cling.
It’s worse here, worse than it’s ever been. The minders notice.
But there’s more than us to mind. Their eyes soon turn elsewhere, and we’re left to find rhythm in the swell of tiles beneath us and lumber gracelessly behind.
An outburst of unhappiness occupies the minders around the corner, a massive mural their backdrop. We edge forward. The entire wall barely contains this scene of violence, encapsulating our fellows’ miseries. Broken figures throw themselves into sea as others swarm in pursuit. We blink, squinting in cold light the hunters carry, painted so bright. If any hope for safety in the water, they have only seconds of relief.
We see then – every face is turned away. But perfectly-etched shoulders betray their breath.
Then we notice…
And we frown. We frown, perplexed, and lean in.
We aren’t mistaken. The pursued pant in fright while the frame that edges their nightmare breathes deep.
We glance to portraits and serene landscapes to our left and right.
All breathe with their frames in perfect time.
‘Please… take me out of here…’
We jolt at the choking whisper.
Every figure, arced in dives and half-submerged, goes still. This paint is the only matter in existence that doesn’t breathe.
We lean in closer and stare. Then we smell it – salt.
Near falling into the scene, we raise an unsteady hand. Cool air buffets our skin. And we see – shadows of torsos lump together on our palm, cast by the blinding searchlights beyond.
Hypnotised, we are drawn within the watercolour.
We let ourselves tip.
…But the minders catch us.
That was Watercolour (Immersion #3). If you missed it, here’s Salt In The Wounds (Immersion #2)