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My imagination flourishes with the consistency of my surroundings. Daydreaming is now a daily occurrence, mental escapism. In the walls of my home, in the books on the shelf, in the leaves of the trees, I see visions of both my past and an imagined future.

I stare at the bowl of fruit and am taken back to the still life paintings at the Royal Gallery in London. In that gallery, I cry for the first time from seeing a painting. It’s by the landscape artist JMW Turner, but it lacks much detail at all. My family is perplexed but has come to accept that I do strange things like spend hours in a single wing of a museum. Meanwhile, my brother manages to circumambulate the entire building twice in fifteen minutes. His speed of consumption is unmatched, even if the quality of the jokes he makes by captioning works of art on his Instagram stories is questionable.

In my record collection, I see a record that I’ve never listened to, gifted to me by a friend I don’t talk to. She bought it for me when she spent her summer in France. The French National Football team won the World Cup that year, so I run through the streets of a French city that I’ve never been to, shouting in glee for a team that I’ve never seen, living a life I’ve never had. My unfamiliarity causes stereotypes to abound. I celebrate with mimes as baguettes and bottles of wine fly through the air. And there’s a chef with a rat on his head. A true celebration.

I run my hands across the sweaters I would wear in school, and walk through the hallways of Alpharetta High School. I amble slowly, remembering all of the class changes, and when I worked for the front office during a free period. I imagine sauntering into my favorite teacher’s classroom, where the back wall is plastered with Harry Potter posters. All of my friends from then are there, and we chat about what college will be like, and what the future holds.

I close my eyes with my headphones in, blasting music. I dance like no one is looking, showing off dance moves that no one should see. I’m in a sea of people that moves as one. I lose all sense of my body, as it seems to move as its own, a single piece of a larger organism. It’s the perfect concert, one where everyone is in tune with the music, one where our individuality disappears and we are simply all simply a moment in time. Everything dissolves but the moment.

I find comfort and hope and joy in these moments, where I leave my surroundings, and can just exist far away from reality. Maybe one day I’ll be able to live these experiences. Maybe not. But until then, I’ll just be daydreaming.
The fight against systemic racism continues. With each day, we move closer to a more equitable world. Reminders:

Ways you can help

Find your Local SURJ Chapter


Anti-racism resources

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Nikhil · 325327 Georgia Tech Station · Atlanta, GA 30332 · USA

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