Chic of a piano

– Why are always dressed up in black? It does not suit you at all, – dropped one of my female companions exhaling smoke of her cigarette, while we were on porch of one feeding on unemployment institutions, where we had our German classes, – three women making small talk in Russian. – Besides, I have read in glossy magazine, that those who prefer wear black, are often depressed.
She talked with the aplomb of a sophisticated woman in spite of reliance on glossy sources of information. Seeing her so close, I kept patronizing silence, as her face at that moment exposed nothing except shining beauty of youth. Besides I knew that eyes of any woman designed in such a way that she inevitably sees herself aesthetically superior to others.
Hypnotized by her aplomb, I felt nevertheless ashamed of my clothes. Why did I really conceive passion for black tunics, which looked fundamentalism stricken on those sunny days? One could enjoy spotting around dames dressed in brilliant pink and turquoise. Back at home, I opened the wardrobe to inspect my collection, which indeed was composed exclusively of black items with the rare exceptions of white ones. As the person who seeks secret meaning everywhere, I was sure I got coded message, which was connected with this attachment to black garments.
Soon it was catholic holiday and together with other spectators I stopped to watch solemn religious procession moving along the street toward nearest church. The wind orchestra played Beethoven ode, and catholic devotees marched forward dressed in clerical costumes of past centuries. The robes of priests and quite contemporary mantels of nuns looked especially black on this shinning day contrasting their white lace collars.

Suddenly it dawned at me why dark robe concealing contours of the body was so popular for centuries among believers and hierarchs of spirituality. When we look at somebody in loose dark garments as burkas and cloaks, our attention is diverted from their body to head. And the head may have halo. High frequency vibrations of brain were symbolically depicted in previous times at icons as halo. Wearing black dress may mean only denial of sexuality. But it can mean much more. The black and the white are powerful and whole, while all colors of rainbow are result of light splitting.
I drive in overcrowded bus wearing black tights and black tunic in spite of sunny weather. It is hot. Maybe I am lazy to adjust new jovial outfit and therefore stay conservative? Or maybe I convey to the world that it must be more of me here than shapes. He looks at my buttocks, and I gaze at the stars in the sky.

Galina Toktalieva

Kyrgyzstan-born author residing in Graz, Austria

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