The Painter

He felt an immense weight float over his mind, making occasional contact with the direct conscience, the call of a decision still unmade, a state of wonder keen to be cut. His art had begun to suffer, the mass of a wooden brush and the melody each stroke exerted grew soft, now the viewer had to endure his spiel, an explanation he felt tedious and irksome, as if the gravity of his work had been compromised, and gradually being taken by the heft of wordplay.

He failed to animate, communicate his paintings, the message looked starved and felt broadly incomplete, but he intuited that it was a flaw within his own self that was projecting itself.  A hole within his persona that when solved, would prove gainful for his art.

So he sought to make himself happy, saw his home and the friends he kept near, a lost inspiration he had not possessed conjured in the form of Asea, a tall, bodicious woman whose full lips chambered stories he felt compelled to free. She was a local grocer at a weekend market, a natural beauty deliberately guised in rags, but her scent and presence unravelled this.

He coaxed her into visiting his studio one evening, where he displayed only his best work and saw as her eyes travelled the room, legs contemplating each step forward, that her face bore a developing sadness, caught feeling possibly pity, empathy or a sense of melancholy that was alien. He had hoped that she would fill that gap in his work, the inherent lacking, but she merely stared for a long time then offered no comment though her expression kept something alive and visible.

“What is it, what’s wrong?”, he asked.

“It’s nothing”, she quipped.

“But it can’t be-“

“No, it’s nothing. I’ve never seen so much of- nothing. It’s just so palpable and so overwhelming, as if someone found nothingness itself, in its pure and most raw condition and you gave it a skin and voice. Like an animal you captured and groomed.”, she said- “Why?”.

He ushered her out then drew over each painting a blank sheet, obscuring the questions they asked and the conversation it suddenly requested. As if all of himself rushed into these paintings, parts of him he wasn’t prepared to confront or was still estranged by.

He locked the doors and abandoned these thoughts. Over time, feeling separated from it, a talent and intellgence severed off. He had no desire to paint again and was content to seek and know nothing more, observed people, nature and life where it all fell into a void and regurgitated into a harmless, untampered flow of- nothing.


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