Home > Nature in the Cracks > Pain(t) Flaking

Pain(t) Flaking

March 17, 2008

There was this old building I used to haunt as a child and that would haunt me right back, some type of technical construction, with all sorts of strange rooms to explore and to play hide and seek in and out of. I remember its stained walls, peeled papers, the grimy windows showing shards of teeth to marauders. There was even a strange hopscotch-like drawing painted on the floor in one of the corridors, which I never failed to storm through on my way from the offices to the workshops.

Sometimes I would lick its old and massive cast iron heaters for a taste and a fleeting impression of gone-by days, trying to picture the persons that would have spend their working time in the place, their dreams, assumptions and delusions still tainting the walls.

I would lose myself in musings, trying to fathom why they would have drawn a child’s game on the floor, and while I imagined alternative uses for the diagram, some enticingly sinister, the flavour of metal in my mouth became that of blood. Was this red stain just flaking paint on the rusty tubes or a sign left by some gruesome rite of passage? Would the dirt and rot on the wall speak a different tale than that of an obvious abandon, forgotten tears being spilt in vain? Such contemplations occupied many a rainy day I spent in this edifice.

Another favourite pastime of mine was also to sit on the dusty floors for hours, allowing myself to get mesmerised by the walls dappled with mildew, broken windows and decayed paint and imagining the building trying to shake its pretense of civilisation to return to a primal stage, a tree creature that, once freed of veneer, would take roots in the place and start sprouting greens and weird typewriter-shaped fruits. Or a brick truant ghost that would un-moor its foundations and take to marauding in the woods, a rampaging being that would take me along as a stowed-away passenger. I would pray for it to let me get under its skin and to cart me off towards genuine adventures, offering to strip away layers of coating to speed its way to recovery, planning all sorts of mischief for our escapade, that I would then whisper into the walls, splinters of paint embedding themselves in my lips.

by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

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  1. March 17, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I love this. I, too, love old derelict buildings, love to sit and soak them up and explore and imagine the stories they could tell of love and hope, sadness and sorrow and slow decay.

  2. March 18, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I enjoyed reading this. Very evocative. Conjured up all sorts of images. Made me want to read more, as all good writing does, but also made me want to put it aside and write something myself, as only the best does.

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