by Charlotte Dyer
Izzy sat at the bench. Normally, she would have adorned said bench in colourful adjectives, and the stories of park-goers before her, but today she just couldn’t find it in her. The bench was a bench. Grey, flaking paint, scrawls of graffiti. And of course, the occasional spattering of that mysterious substance. The one that most park-goers have the misfortune to come across if they ever so chose to sit at a bench. Izzy had come to this bench to think, to try and sort the jumbled library of thoughts on her mind, a fizzling cloud that hung above her head and twisted in amongst strands of her hair, like a peculiar garland.
To the naked eye, this cloud was invisible, and it was for the best that it was, as Izzy’s cloud wasn’t alone. There were hundreds of clouds above most of the citizens of her town. This much fizzing power was so heavy that it felt like it could have crushed the town, and its spirit at any moment.
The cosmic thunderstorm had started just a week ago, when Izzy’s life was completely flipped upside down. And the worst part was, it was invisible. The whole world was fighting an invisible enemy, and the confusion and chaos was almost worse than the thing itself. You see, important but potentially tragic moments in history are sometimes fun to learn about, watch documentaries about, or to perhaps make the occasional diorama – observing them from the safe distance of a few decades later, the back row of the theatre, away from the special effects.
However, when you’re watching in the front row, the effects all up in your face , it’s an entirely different experience, and generally a less entertaining one. It has been a week since this particular show’s debut, and already the city was tired. Tired of the advertising, the face covering costumes, and the Tv reviews on the performance’s biggest stars. By this time, Izzy was cross, she was sick of the spotlight being hogged by an invisible act, the theatre of her old life was slowly turning into the bad remix of the past.
Sitting on that underwhelming bench, she was hit in the face by an idea. Quite literally. As she sat, pondering her thoughts, a stray piece of flying chalk struck her square in the nose. Izzy had always been a creative person, and this was it, the inspiration for her next project. This idea slowly bled into her cloud, like a dirty paintbrush in a jar of water. Colouring her cloud, now not fizzling with confusion, but with excitement.
That evening was the same as any other before it, except for one important detail: Izzy’s colour was back. Everywhere she walked inspiration popped out at her. Tigers in a tapestry, roaring and scratching to be let free. Trees on the nature strip, curling up and twisting into high-reaching pillars, framing the dusky blue sky. Butterflies of a bumper sticker, flittering daintily up, in a twisting kaleidoscope of wings. And as the sun drifted down, she drew. The footpaths became winding passages, through lush jungles, urging passers-by to go an adventure through the suburban rainforest. Regal pyramids and tropical beaches. The places people wanted to be, away from the clouds, and a looming act 2 of this confusing show. An escape.
When the sun rose again, Izzy waited anxiously for someone to notice her jungle. It was as if a tiny piece of her heart had been laid out on the footpath, ready to be crushed. But in contrary to her punishing thoughts, as people’s clouds began to drift by, something magical happened. The clouds opened up and they cried. A giant storm of fizzling rain. With it confusion, stress, and sadness, flooded out of the city. And then a moment of indescribable joy. The clouds split, and from between the heavens spilt a magnificent rainbow. Every colour bright and cheery. And as the colours poured into the city, as others began to draw their own inspirational adventures, the colour in the production returned, and the script was revised.