Dust Paintings by Julia Seitz

A small creak comes from behind the door, a light airy creak. I see light come through the door as it opens; each inch makes my body tense. My nose shrivels up as I smell the familiar scent of the lady; vanilla and rosemary. I pinch the thin fabric of my blouse and hold in a breath. I do not make a sound.

At her entry, the lady’s voice rolls like a sweet symphony gliding through snow on a cold winter’s night and her words become like drops of dew on a fresh rose, just enough to show true beauty. I smile sweetly as she sits on a wooden box like I, and takes off her pointed red heels from her elegant feet and starts to make patterns on the dusty floor with her small delicate toes. Her long satin skirt gently flowing around her legs as the patterns take shape into a picture on the ground.

The dust painting is of a girl, her hair flying behind her as she runs down a street. You can imagine the excitement of the young girl’s situation; the girls face is alight with suspense. But I do not have to imagine the little girl’s situation; I know exactly what happened to that little girl. For this little girl is I. So is the lady with the satin skirt, so is the girl who is watching the lady as she reminisces her childhood. For I have passed the great age of childhood but I have not yet become the lady in the satin skirt.

For I have a great fear of losing my dreams and hopes as I grow older. I fear that I will lose ‘myself’ through time and that I will not remember wise decisions I made when I was younger. I am scared that I will change so much, that I am truly not the same person inside.

Minutes later a young girl with flowing white hair runs into the room, her cheeks are rosy and bright. I can hear her breath; it is heavy but light hearted. Like she is recovering from the journey of a lifetime, which I suppose this is. The girl takes a wooden box from the side of the room as I have and places the box next to me; she sits down quickly and looks to the lady in the satin skirt.

At first she is surprised that the lady has taken off her shoes but then decides that it seems quite sensible and takes off her own small delicate sandals, and starts to make patterns in the dust. As the lady in the satin skirt has already done. The little girl looks at me, as though she is trying to tell me to take my shoes off as well. I smile back at her and slide off my small black, ankle boots and place them on the ground next to me.

The lady in the satin skirt has already been here before, as she was once the young girl and she once was I (the girl in the red dress).The young girl, however, is here for the first time and she will return twice again. I have already been here as the young child and I remember the experience fondly. I do not remember why I had the same insecurities to come back to the room though. You would think that after meeting with me once before I would understand my fears. Obviously not…

So for many hours the three of us sit silently, together in the old blue room with the wallpaper covered in daisies, all of us slowly circling the room on our wooden boxes, drawing dust paintings on the ground.

It may seem pointless to some, but these ‘dust paintings’ seem to show small corners of myself, as if the dust is reflecting back parts of me I never knew of before. Suddenly I realise that I have nothing to fear. I see why I came to meet the small girl and the lady in the satin skirt. I see the reason I came to meet myself. I am not scared of what I will become or how I will get there. I am afraid of who around me will change, of who will die, who will survive, and who will find new ways.

But change is not something to fear, change shapes who you are. I think this is what the Lady in the Satin skirt already knows and what the small girl is still finding out. Change is the essence of life. The Dust will only form over change and choice, without change there would be no dust paintings…