At daybreak

This morning I intuitively sensed that I could no longer see a particular color. “Sensed” was not the right word, because I could not remember if this was actually true either:  how do you really know if something is missing if it had never been there and you had never asked?  For an instant I had no way of knowing if I had always been colorblind. Perhaps, I had gone through life missing out on a particular color. Or perhaps, I once recognized this missing color but now it had stared to fade: as my perception of it got blunted, instead of the canvas being devoid of its hue completely, another color bled into the spot to replace it. One by one, is this how we lose our perception of a field of flowers? Is this how the kaleidoscope eventually becomes monochromatic?

I lied still in bed trying to hear the sounds around me. I thought about all the frequencies which I knew were inaudible. It was not a silence, but a heavy white noise that enveloped my ears. Maybe I was deaf to particular notes? Or it could have been that there were entire octaves that had gone missing in the night.

I took a deep breath. I exhaled. I could smell nothing. It is said that smell is the sense closest linked to memory: there in that sterile room, I tried to recall waking up many mornings to the smell of freshly-brewed coffee. I tried to reconstruct the bitter flavor on my palate. But it seemed that my nose was blocked. The room was impervious to all sensation. Or was the room unchanged and I had changed?

How could I even be sure that the physical attributes of the objects around me remained as they had in the past? Were events still occurring, transmitting the same amount of information as before? Was the sun up? Were children laughing? Did flowers still blossom?  Truly, I had no way of knowing, because my weakening receivers had failed to pick up the details hidden in so many lost frequencies.

While lying in bed, the colored lenses in front of my eyes had become eye-patches. I had heard nothing as the cut-off filters progressively narrowed the dynamic range restricting what sounds reached my brain. My olfactory receptors had withered in a sudden frost.

Just then the alarm rang. I rubbed my eyes in a blur. By focusing and filtering for so long, I had let the world slip away until I had reached the point that I could no longer recognize it. I had rationalized that I didn’t need to see the forest for the trees, and in the meantime, the trees had vanished one by one, leaving only a foggy imprint of what was once lush vegetation.

Those were the thoughts of a man who had just woken up older by another day.


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