Some free(ish) writing for tonight while worn out from the day.
I can never know where the words will go when they start from a short sentence or phrase or prompt. I certainly didn't expect this to happen - although I do of course have some experience in what the words say. Then again I hadn't expected Gerald to be eating the washing during the week. No, Gerald and Elspeth were a complete surprise to me.
Pictures are like that.
You look at them and it's tempting to try to believe they offer an untarnished window into the world. Tempting, but in reality they more often offer only an opinion, the facade of an interpretation. At best they can only show one moment, a heartbeat suspended before it is over. At best only one glimpse of what can be, one touch of a hand upon the fragile life of creation.
He looked at the portrait of himself, stared at the smile, at the stability and strength in the face of the image. And he wept.
Because the man created by the skill of an artist was far more a man than the one who breathed and felt and failed to dream.
Though he tried to believe that the paint showed some truth that he had never appreciated, he knew it was a glossy lie, a monstrous beauty to mask the monstrous charlatan.
He looked at the man in paint. Kept looking and searching and despairing.
For he could not see himself there. He knew the truth. That no portrait of manhood could ever show his essence.
In the deep places, beyond lies, beyond appearance and effect and pretense and all the years of pretending to his world and his heart, he knew.
As he searched the image he was lost. All the years he had spent protecting himself, the constant hard work to deny the burning within. Everything fell. The canvas would continue to display the man long after the man turned from his life and embraced the death he now desired.
He had to die.
And in death she was free.
The image could never be true when the portrait showed only the skill of an actor.
In death was the chance for new paint to be spread, where sunshine brings warmth and the smiles are never grotesque parodies.
In death was life. The death of man. The rebirth of woman.
In death was hope. While he could never hope, she could hope for a future.
In death was joy. From the constancy of his despair came the unexplored passion of her laughter and the rich exploration of her blossomed gladness.
He had to die. He never truly lived.
He died. And she lives.
Unchained she flies where the world is her playground, the forest her home and the rivers lead her into a sea where all possibilities can be real.