the surprise


1. Something in the basement had climbed upstairs. 

2. The shadows that fell in meshes reminded you of those nets that kill everything in the ocean unrelated to the one thing they’re trying to kill. It was maybe an ironic feeling because, at the same time, the new roof produced discomfort because of its very contrast to the concept of Normal: the form a slate to base new ideas to serve us all: that would give you credit: a change from Normal roofs built by landlords who hoped your fear would lead you to trust them, and that your will, even when aware of this assumption of your stupidity, would falter when they promised you warmth.

3. Houses built on poor foundations become beyond repair: sometimes, you need to move.

4. You visited the new structure after Fall, which, as a student, had gone first-class-excitement, mid-term-grind, final-push-to-zombie-effects-on-your-body-conclusions, exhausted-screams-of-joy-overindulgence.

5. This Fall had been different.


6. The thing, once shown to everyone, on the sidewalk, changed everything.

7. Although having always been part of the foundation, when shown to the public, the residents felt uncomfortable. 

8. We all reacted differently. 

9. Some, forever reluctant to accept their building had a foundation, blamed the thing on the weather, saying well, with that angle, anything looks like a foundation.

10. Others said, because we have always lived in nice apartments, everyone has always lived in nice apartments, and this foundation, lying down on the street, has been conjured up by conspiracy theorists.

11. Others were finished with the colonial fetish for politeness: not disrupting the order of things was a value created by those who had imposed the order. Fed up with the assumption that the residents could be exploited through their fear, they broke down the door… hinges snapped with rotting wood of the door frame… to find the surprise inside.

12. Those who did not see the surprising thing were busy doing nothing, supporting the system in their complicity, working to avoid feeling uncomfortable by acknowledging the existence of something they considered ugly, clinging desperately to the idea that, because the building was renovated, all ugly things were part of the past. 

13. Beautiful buildings have never been built on hesitancy.

14. Truly beautiful things have come about because of the sense of hope from sometimes a single person that resonates with the shared reserve of hope of all people.

15. The collective regard for fulfillment and respect is an adequate indicator to predict the life span of a foundation.

16. Your visit to the new roof held the promise that our lives would be valued as lives, that our hopes would be valued as hopes: that the blueprint of our home would not hope that the residents would be easily distracted idiots: that old plans would be acknowledged as old plans, slanted to benefit true landlords.

17. The surprise behind the broken down door was that the apartment was empty: the landlord had never lived in the building. They therefore didn’t care when it started to lean – they had the blueprints – it wasn’t news.

 word by Liam Lachance

colour by Arne Quinze 


From the author: “I wrote this to give people credit, after witnessing our impressive array of justifications for violence- we just really don’t want to accept things that makes us feel uncomfortable.

It’s similar to why a lot of people never visit the doctor.

With videos and social media updates, the news is losing the ability to tell us not to worry, everything is alright if you consume only us, be afraid, hey look at this commercial. There is no shame in avoiding uncomfortable feelings.

There is shame when the price of our avoidance results in more dead people. We aren’t avoiding a relationship talk: we’re saying that violence doesn’t and hasn’t always existed so we feel less involved, and less guilty.

Closing our eyes as people die on the spot, or over years in a jail, is wrong.

I believe that people share a resolve to treat all people with respect.

Getting through to that resolve is blocked by many things, such as companies that have figured out a way to make money from our hesitancy (news, advertising), or political groups that leverage your fear of facing discomfort to gain support or votes.

Taking advantage of our fear for special interests is part of our socialization, and I’m sure it starts when we’re kids.

The constant theme in all this avoidance is the assumption that you are an idiot, easily convinced with a product, or something that makes you think of your family, oblivious to the world around you.

I disagree.”

Author: Word and Colour

words inspired by colour

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