Artistic Support - Cecilia Humphrey Grant Application


Concept Sketch for 'In Detention'


The day after she left me.

The day after she left me, i cried. i wrote a number on a piece of paper and dropped it into my bag. i put my pencil down. i walked through the streets of my city and i cried.

i watched the cracks in the pavement as i flew past above them, as they morphed into rivers through my salty, drowning eyes. The day after she left me it was cold. My wet cheeks exposed themselves to the bitterness of the air and they turned a grey blue reflecting the colours of the sky, that day i cried.

At the bus stop, people walked past. They walked and they walked and under the friction of their feet, the earth tried to keep turning. My feet carried my lead black heart up the steps of the bus. Each step upwards made the force of gravity stronger and i began to shrink. Each step upwards made me relive the journey up those stairs, up to that room, up to those voices – those voices that told me she had left. She left me. i found myself seated inside a giant whale with blue vinyl seats which latched themselves onto my skin. The whale let out a big puff of smoke, the colour of my cold, bloodless hands, through its blowhole. i cried in the stomach of that whale. I closed my eyes, lay down and slid along a path made by my slippery tears and found myself in my bed.

i crawled to my balcony and lay on my stomach watching the tears i cried fall through the gaps, falling, falling, crash. Onto my driveway. Vertigo. My head fell to the side and my cheek met the grain of the wood. They became good friends – the wood left a lasting impression on my right cheek. In front of my eyes danced a pod the shape of a stingray, throwing itself from side to side, playing with the wind. My hand fell onto the stingray, shattering its dry skin under my wet palms. A black pearl escaped and ran towards me with such great intention. i dropped my pearl black eyes and rested them upon it. My finger circled its glossy, dark skin. i picked it up, rolled it between my finger and my thumb and observed it, studied it, distracted myself with it. This black pearl momentarily reversed the effects of gravity and i floated down and planted the pearl in an equally dark patch of soil in my front garden. i willed it to grow. 

i dreamt it would grow into a flying peach that would carry me away to her. Back to her.

Days passed and soon it became weeks since that day she left me. Black leaves sprouted from a black stem protruding from black soil where that black pearl lay that I had found that black day. The neighbours began to complain of a rumbling in the ground, of a strange high-pitched murmur which would grow louder at night. i willed it to grow.

The weeks became months since that day she left me. My plant began to weep a cloudy, dark green sap which flooded the drains and made people slip as they approached my home. Complicated flowers began to omit complicated smells which those neighbours could only describe as “ u n c o m f o r t a b l e . ” My plant was beginning to make people unhappy – yet nobody dared to pass my weeping plant to witness my own unhappiness. My eyes had diminished in size and sparkle and my hands had become paralysed. That no longer mattered to me, because the day after she left me, i put my pencil down. 

One morning when the sun was shining, (or at least i presume the sun shone for those happy people only choose to face happy realities) i found the street in front of my home flooding with people. If you are ever confronted with a swarm of bees of this particular kind i implore you, beware. For this particular species of bee is the most fearless and unrelenting. They do not fade after the sting nor do they require great provocation to attack. They always travel in packs as if their consensus could alter the fabric of the universe, the reality of our hours. The bravest of the bees flew above my plant wearing earplugs to muffle out the sound of its perpetual sighs and cries, and dark glasses to obscure what she saw to be its ugliness. She dropped a collection of stapled pieces of paper on my head and buzzed away. It was a petition. The neighbouring bees had spoken. My plant was not to their liking and they had taken the initiative to destroy it. 3 bees pulled out 3 power-saws and began to hack away at my plant. They dismembered it that day. Black limbs wriggled like worms, trying to burrow their way back into the safety of the earth. Escaping nets and angry mouths of garbage trucks, those long black limbs dived into the soil and fought. They fought the will of those happy bees and swam to the depths of the ground, creating fissures in the gravel of the road above. Once the bees were satisfied the desired aesthetics of my street were restored, they dispersed.

The months passed and now i find myself years since that day she left me. Sometimes passers-by stumble on the cracks on the road in front of my home, but very few take the time to look down that void. They did not kill my plant that day – for if you hold your ear to the ground around my home, you can still hear it cry. But the neighbours are happy because they no longer have to look at it; they no longer have to acknowledge its existence.

The day after she left me, i put my pencil down.

4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 6 days later, I apologise to my neighbours that I have written away the dust…