The Artist

I stare at the wall. I have no choice but to look at it. I sit too close to see anything else. So, I look at the not-so-ever-stretching plane. I wonder to myself why this wall decided to become a wall and not maybe an ocean or a bed. I decide it needed to be a wall so that I could paint it. It asked me to paint it. It was desperate.

I stare at the wall, and I see its almost glimmering sheen and its tiny pores that threaten to call it a liar when it claims to be smooth. I should have primed it, I think as I wait for the paint to dry. You should always prime the wall for paint. My father taught me that, and I didn’t listen. Now it’s simultaneously both caked on and splotchy. It’s a mess, really, a terrible mess, and I think to myself, I never should have even touched it if I didn’t know what I was doing. Not to mention the smell. I wish I could open a window, but I don’t want my father to come early and see my work just yet. It’s meant to be a surprise. Although, in its distinctness, that putrid smell is an irritation and almost always gives me an excruciating headache. Nevertheless, I watch the paint dry.

I watch it sit still upon the wall. When I first started out, it used to drip when I would cut in the corners and get near the ceiling. I recall one time my father got so angry with me because the paint dripped on the floor. I always was a messy painter, but I loved my job. And I was paid well.

What am I going to do with the wall when the paint dries, though? I could burn the house down around it, burn the house down with myself inside. I’ll be as good as dead anyway when my father finds out I painted another wall. He always thought he was better at deciding which walls to paint, which was mostly true in his younger days, but now he is so slow, and it takes him so long to finish just one wall.

I finally step back to see the full scope of my work and decide what to do with it, and I look at the man, the obscure red paint across his ceiling, near the lights. The lights are on, but they flicker, not begging nor pleading nor crying for help. But they slowly dim, and the paint on the wall grows darker. The room grows darker. And as the lights finally burn out and a final breeze crosses the room, my father enters, silent.