An aspiring writer chiseling away at her block, with a toothpick.
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April 16, 2019


We are sitting in a shoebox. I mean a literal shoebox, blown up to about 100 times its normal size, with a hundred thousand-dollar Cappellini sofa placed stylishly askew atop a Roche Babois rug, and a plasma flat-screen TV that takes up half the opposite wall. You're right next to me; I can practically feel your leg against mine.

"I don't get it," I say after a twenty seconds of staring at the blank TV screen. 
"It's a satirical piece," you say. "The box is Prada."
"Oh, that explains it," I roll my eyes, but we both smile.
"You know, it's like when people say they live in a shoebox, but it's never true 'cause they're, like, super rich and they live in, like, a literal PALACE, and it's always the rich people who complain even though the poor have got it much worse." You gesture out the window of the shoebox, at the view of the slums. Unlike this place, the slums are real and have real people living in them. I shake my head. "I know a lot of poor people who complain all the time," I say, and now it's your turn to roll your big brown eyes. "It's not about that."

"Time's up, sir." A burly man in a dark blue security guard uniform lifts the lid of the shoebox and pokes his head in. I nod and we climb up the ladder to face the real world again.
Cold air blasts us in the face. The real world smells like lemon and prerogative.

"Let's check out some of the other stuff," I propose and your face lights up. You grab my hand and drag me off towards a painting of a man holding a pitchfork in one hand and a candle in the other. You stare at it with wonder in your eyes, wonder that I can never understand, never replicate. A grin spreads uninvited across my face as I gaze at you, your hair long and black and perfectly still, like an inky waterfall captured at just the right moment. See, sweetheart, your artistic tendencies have finally rubbed off on me.

We spend the next hour examining chaotic, incomprehensible paintings, watching bizarre 'modern' performances, and interacting with more outlandish 'satirical pieces'. You gasp your way through it all, your eyes gleaming, looking to me now and then for confirmation that yes, this certainly is a work of genius, and yes, I'm still thoroughly confused by this entire exhibition. But I don't mind. Seeing you full of inspiration and practically hearing the gears and cogs of imagination turning in your head...I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world, and I would give anything to stay here with you, in this moment, forever. You make art fascinating, but no artist could ever capture the warmth of your touch, the sharpness of your mind, the entirety of your magic. Nothing is ever boring with you, and I am even able to sit through a screening of "Plane Crash?", an indie short film about a plane that is suspended in the sky and cannot land unless the passengers—a Christian scientist, an atheist philosopher, and a three-year-old toddler—agree on what makes the plane stay in the air in the first place. 

"I liked the kid," I declare as we're leaving the screening room. "He made some good arguments."
You giggle and hit my arm. "That wasn't the POINT," you chide me. We come to a stop in front of a watercolor painting of a bear cub sitting under a waterfall. Behind the waterfall are glimpses of golden light and smiling faces, and the bear is half-hidden in the roaring water. It's got one paw in the air, like it's waving goodbye. A crowd of other bears stand facing it, several feet away from the waterfall. They've all got flowers woven into their thick fur. A familiar signature, your signature, is scrawled across the bottom. I stare at it and we are silent for a long while.

I reach for your hand, but I am denied. You look up at me and your smile is still there.
"This was fun," you say.
I nod. 
"Let's do it again sometime. Next year?"
I nod again.
"You know I'm always with you."
I smile, brush away the tears, try to hold on to you. You would have loved it here, I know because you used to. I'm sorry I didn't take you to more art exhibitions, sit through more weird films with you, hold your hand and let you drag me around a maze of your imagination. 
You back away, into the waterfall. I'm still not ready to say goodbye.
"I love you, Daddy."
I love you, too.


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1 Comment
  • JCWriter

    This is beautiful in so many ways. Your description is vivid and I love the style; the ending is sad yet beautiful, too. I love this piece.

    about 1 year ago