Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Some short fiction

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For the second time this week, I pour water into the enormous glass bowl sitting at my bare feet. The well outside the house is nearing its last supplies and I, exhausted by today’s hard labour, sit alone in my tiny house, made of mud-bricks, and drink the water as if it was my last day on this planet.

From the piercing rain outside, I would be able to collect some more water at least to wash my dry, incised feet.

Being a young artist, it seems I’ve been damned from the day I was born, however much God has blessed me with a virtuosic brush. Being as poor as a church rat, I dig and dig all day on the golden fields under the baking sun, with barely enough money to even buy a piece of bread. I scour the scattered bread crumbs on the dusty floor, aware of the rats listening intently for the weak movements of my frail hands.

Like the breadcrumbs on the floor, all my artworks are dispersed like broken glass, but on the bed. They mean everything to me, far more even than my life. Why should I call it life, though, when it is not even brink more than a wretched, miserable existence.

The next day, I went by the hospital. A small building, but sufficient accommodation for the village. I entered through the front door and the blistering smell of medical equipment and pools of doses ricocheted along my nostrils at an instant. I learned of the outbreak of an unknown illness that was spreading among the villagers and a sudden sense of concern swept over me.

The doctor, a friend of mine, told me that the sick needed blood transfusion but the shortage of volunteers meant a certain death for them.

So, the doctor; he was a man of such a visible coldness that his indifference to any kind of ghastliness in front of his eyes would set a classic example for budding medical students.

He was aware of me being a struggling painter and the look in his eyes immediately gave in the fact that he noticed me being in spite of all, a healthy person. Almost as if he had been planning his next words all night, he went on:

“Listen, you would make a good blood donor and to convince you of the quality of my proposition, I am going to ask you for your help here for which you will be rewarded.”

The tonality of his words reminded me of the songs we used to sing at church when we were kids. He told me that he had an easy access to all kinds of paint because he had a distant relative who is an artist.

My kind-heartiness and credulousness which was a direct consequence of my miserable and simple life was well enough to make me accept his offer.

And there I was, bartering blood for paint.

With the newly-acquired paint, I was able to enrich my paintings with colour of better quality, improving my overall work. Every week, I was donating blood and it felt as though I was giving tons of it but ‘Never mind, never mind’, I kept telling myself. In this way, I had a rich supply of paint and I had not time to waste. Day and night, I worked, painted with absolutely no time to spare.

This was my chance to complete my works of art and escape from this hell I’ve been since Day 1 of my life.

This gruelling existence, however, did take its toll on me and after a couple of weeks, I collapsed on the golden fields, while hard at work. These seemingly endless golden fields stretched beyond the horizon and were turning grey and suddenly, it all went as black as I’ve never seen it before.

And there I was. Lying among the wheat roots, dirty and disillusioned, nearly dead. And as I am writing this, I feel the sense of death burning on my face, as though I was going to any minute crash into the sun.

With my every breath, emanating the sharp smell of illness, I lay in hospital. With the last possible strength of my hand, I am writing this, and out of all, sorrow casts the most powerful shadow over my soul.

I was going to die young and green. Death or perhaps God himself seemed to think my life is complete. What would happen to my paintings? Never saw them again since the day of the blackness.

I was a dying artist. Never I was to pick up a brush again. I was exchanging my blood in order to get paint for my work. I was giving up on my purely biological life so I could fuel the spark of my ghostly self.

Some people (lucky, are they?) become rich and successful and it costs them nothing. And me? I was born into the simplicity and lowest class of life and talented I was, yes. But on my deathbed, I am hopeless and unknown of.

Surrendered my soul and life for my art. It’s the end now and Death is approaching slowly and painfully.

As a true artist, I was going to die (lucky, am I?)

1 Comments:

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