The Hour of the Angels
When Orlando Jones awoke one Sunday morning the light outside was a bright golden colour - or so she thought. When she opened the window she was astonished to discover that the golden colour was somehow attached to the window glass. The air outside looked its usual colour but was filled with what Orlando Jones took to be a thick fog. Later, while checking whether the fog was still there, she noticed that the fluorescent lights in the study halls of the library - this end of the library building was visible from her living room window -appeared an incredibly bright turquoise blue through the fog. They seemed more like neon lights than fluorescent tubes. The lights in the clinic opposite were the same. This was strange enough for Orlando Jones to take photographs but not strange enough yet for her to ask why. By mid morning, the fog had not lifted which she did think highly unusual. She went outside to shop. It was then that she discovered that the fog was dust. The dust was like light ochre talcum powder that fell from the sky and covered everything - parked cars, the pavements, the streets. The effect was eerie. More unnerving was the fact that the air was almost completely still. There was no wind, not even a breeze. Orlando Jones became alarmed at how the dust could possibly be in the air. It appeared to fall from the sky unaided. It was not just a little dust. It was thick and beyond about fifty metres, opaque. Her next discovery was even more disconcerting. About to cross Jiefang Road, she looked up at the sky. She looked directly into the sun. The dust was so dense that one could do this. The sun appeared perfectly round, silvery and a pale eggshell blue. Orlando Jones was enraptured.
More discoveries awaited her back in her apartment. After turning on the television searching for weather reports, she noticed that the blues on the screen had turned to intense cobalts and indigos. They appeared as true blues, saturated, iridescent and deeply relaxing. Orlando Jones laughed. She suddenly realised that the thick ochre (orange-yellow) dust in the air outside was reflecting that end of the light spectrum and that the blue-indigo end of the spectrum, unimpeded, was changing the light somehow, enhancing the blues, inside the apartment. At least she thought that some physical phenomenon such as this was happening. She tried to remember her studies at art school in the physics of light and/or colour theory. It had been a long time ago. The effect was as though one was in a camera with a yellow filter over the lens. The same effect was happening with the blues on her computer screen. As cobalt and turquoise were Orlando Jones's favourite colours, she was ecstatic. She couldn't take her eyes off the television screen. She had never seen blues so intense, so alive. She marked essays and watched videos, the more blue objects in them the better, all afternoon.
As night fell, the magical blues disappeared. Too late, Orlando Jones thought that she should have borrowed the Trois-couleurs: Bleu film from the video store. Many people complained about the dust, but Orlando Jones had enjoyed her colourful day. For several days Afterward., she noticed blue objects with a particular acuteness.
To restore colour to fading images is to invest with desire. Both the narrator and Nathanael have trouble in describing the brilliant colours of their inner vision and feel impelled to add ever more colour to the narrative, to keep alive the images which torment them (and by further extension the reader), to stop them from fading, to play and replay the compulsive fantasy.