The Great Gabs-by



Still a child
Cat lover
Avid pen sketcher
Classical music lover
Tea brewer
Lives to eat
Great believer in the power of hugs \(UwU)/

Message to Readers

Feedback always welcome and appreciated!! Always great to read slowly to let it all sink in:))

Mary's Room #Colours

November 9, 2019


Her lithe fingers roamed the faded ink of a page as she tucked a lock of silky ebony behind her ear. The classic was huddled in her pale, slender arms as her willowy physique hovered over it.
The floor was carpeted by a spotless white fabric that caressed her feet as she pranced about in her immaculate home. Shelves lined the creamy walls of her room, encasing many books, all of which were meticulously arranged in alphabetical order. Her brown eyes shone like the scintillating sun, mesmerised by the boundless extent of wonders that they encompassed. In a corner, a black piano stood in its grandiose radiance, pearly-white keys topped off with chunks of black accidentals. Another haze of amazement overwhelmed her as she gingerly let the weight of her small fingers produce an echo of monophonic music.

She turned to face a young woman who was leaning against the doorway, awarding her daughter with a soft smile. A beam tugged at the corners of the girl’s mouth, consuming her face. Slowly, and then all at once.


Her fascination did not end but a new wonder had weaselled its way into her line of sight-----the window behind the curtain. Intrigued by its presence, she went onto her toes and lifted its heavy cloth to reveal a myriad of colours.

Leaves fell gracefully from the trees, settling in a vast carpet of red, brown and orange. Its trunks reached up towards the cerulean blue hue, diminishing into branches and thinning into spindly twigs of black bark. Beneath the heights of the trees were shadows of flitting birds, their pale grey coat catching the light. Children were capering about the dry leaves, allowing their fuzzy hair to cascade freely down their shoulders. The girl pressed her palms against the window, letting Autumn’s glow swallow her in just a few heartbeats.


Her hair had grown and her features were slightly sharper, giving her more defined cheekbones, casting light shadows against the pinkish tinge on her cheeks. It was early in the evening and the window was warm under her touch. Not a stuffy and unrelenting kind of warmth but the cosy kind akin to a blanket embracing you in a comforting hug in the cold.

The greenery of the trees cast dappled shadows on the ground as it shook under the whistle of the wind. Apricot tinted the pale lilac sky, embellished by pink streaks of thin clouds. As always, she heard the laughter coming from beneath the trees. Peering downwards, a few children frolicked on the grass playfully as a tuft of brown fluff frisked around them.
She had never owned a pet and she certainly had not befriended anyone before. Not understanding the purpose of their laughter, she contemplated about what sensations would ignite in herself if she could stand in their shoes, crush dried leaves on the ground, breathe in the scent of Spring, laugh as if-----


Her hair had been cut short and cropped just above her shoulders without any layering, as if it had been chopped off violently. She had grown taller and perhaps, more daring. She continuously peered out of the window despite the warning that she had been given that day in Spring when the warm air was almost palpable in her still room. Unfortunately, she had been caught too many times. Reaching for her neck, she fiddled with the tips of her hair, touching the areas where her tresses were just a few moments ago, noticing how bare her skin felt. The punishment had already dealt a blow towards her chest, making her pulsations grow weak and tired.

Her mother had realised a stain that blotched the pristine white dress that her daughter always wore, a great distraction that would obstruct her from success. And thus, a punishment was carried out so swiftly that pain only seeped into the girl’s being hours later.

She sat in the purgatory of darkness of the room, staring at the amorphous golden hue that shone from the window behind the curtain. Her fingers traced the dull purple and blue that flecked her fair skin, wondering how long it had been since that Spring evening when her mother had first caught her at the window and abruptly disturbed her train of thought. Curiosity does kill the cat. Summer had come and she could make out the familiar laughter without even having to peer out of the window. Too bad she would not be able to see Summer’s warm colour scheme this year.


It ached. Her skin was so blotched by contusions it started to resemble chromatic keys of the piano she sat before. She knew very well why she had to be confined to a white room void of colour. She had expectations stacked upon her shoulders. A life of eloquence and manners, where knowledge would rest in her head, cultivating and harvesting at a rapid speed. She was to be better than anyone else, safe from colourful distortions. Until everyone else’s idea of magniloquence was but her prosaic connotation of mundane speech.
The children’s laughter was, hence, understandable. She figured that a piano alone could not produce a symphony so she created instruments of her own. Wonder, sadness, self-pity and envy coalesced into a loud orchestral theme, a sharp contrast to the monophony she had first played as a child.
Her tresses had grown back to its original length to be tied in an elegant bun with white pins to hold it in place. Making out small speckled shadows on the curtain, she stared longingly at the window. It was snowing. The book was heavy in her arms, so she placed it on the carpet next to her as she sat cross-legged. Her arms and legs had recovered from their colourful chromaticism and were now void of abrasions. She had not pulled the curtain away from the window in a very long time.
A faint laughter caught up to her lonely perdition, momentarily illuminating the room in a soft glow of snowy light. She wondered what the children were doing in such cold weather, wondered if snow would seep into their boots in a wet mess, wondered if Winter was as white as her room and yet, much more colourful.
She stood up, waiting for pandemonium to strike should her mother come in right then, incandescent with rage. Waiting for another punishment to wash over her frail body again. Nothing. Walking slowly and cautiously towards the window, she hoped that her mother would not come in for just a moment. She just wanted to take one last glimpse at the window’s wonders before searing the image in her head and retreating back into her shell, content with the colour that would cling onto her even if she were to never experience it again.
She stopped, Winter just inches away from her grasp. Maybe it was the creak of the door. Or the stiff, suffocating air. Or the storm that was almost imminent. A faint laughter in its usual carefree tone rang in her ears, as she stared dejectedly at the shadowed speckles.
Snow. Atmospheric water vapour frozen into ice crystals that falls in light white flakes and lies on the ground as a white layer. She read that definition in a book. Too bad she would not be able to experience it this year.

She carefully closed the cover of the book and stood up. She had yet to finish reading it but she already knew the ending. Whatever she learnt from it would stay inside the thin pages of ink. It would not emerge from its hardcover. She could flip to the last page and still see the same thing. Words with no meaning. Only empty knowledge with no experience. Placing the book back on the shelf, she stood in silence, eyes towards the window.
The end.
Mary's Room is a thought experiment about a young scientist named Mary. She theoretically knows everything about colour from how different wavelengths display different colours to how the eyes perceive them. The problem is that while she has been learning everything about colour, she has never seen colour all her life. She lives in a black and white room. One day, her computer malfunctions and she sees colour. The food for thought is: does she learn anything new when she sees colour for the first time despite knowing everything about it?


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  • AcetheticallyPleasing

    This is incredible. Coming into this, I had no idea what I'd be reading. You pulled off this hypothetical very, very well. While the idea of the window and the colours hidden behind it was extremely tempting to my imagination, I think my favourite thing you've described in this was the piano. Maybe it's because it's associated with music or maybe it was just the manner in which you described it, but I found myself entranced with the thought of it. Thank you for entering the contest! ^^

    6 months ago
  • The Great Gabs-by

    That is high praise. Thank you:)

    7 months ago
  • Starflower

    This is brilliant! You're a wonderful writer. I especially liked your description of the piano. :)

    7 months ago