‘It looks like two bears dancing,’ I say eventually.
The shrink, who doesn’t like to be called that, has held up a whole series of these things before I decide to speak. Image after image, smudged across two pages, black symmetrical formless blots – or are they?
Wait, there’s a bat, a beating heart, my mother’s vagina, I don’t know what the hell it is he wants me to see and say. I decide the bears are safe and he strokes his chin, I swear he does, and says, ‘Interesting.’
The pages continue to turn and I don’t tell him that all I can think of is a piece of paper from another life, splodged with primary colour paint on one side, folded over and SPLAT – a butterfly appeared to a squeal of delight. A butterfly with two long antennae, red wings, two green eyes. A shimmer of yellow at its edges. I don’t tell him I think of chubby fingers dipped in blue, pads pressed onto the page to make dots on the wing, drops of sky.
He keeps asking for my answers but all I can see is a lump of coal, a black hole, an endless well, an abyss.
All I want to do is ask him: where has the colour gone?