The artist feels very small. Sometimes the artist stands before a canvas as vast and white as the room and actually feels swallowed up by it. Sometimes the colors jump straight out of their brushstrokes and splash him right in his face. Sometimes he hears them whisper, sometimes giggle or shriek. The artist lets this happen because he doesn’t want them to be quiet.
The artist is lonely. He is lonely because he doesn’t have any friends. He has people who occasionally act like friends, people who laugh raucously and spill wine on the floor, but they all have defective ears. Everyone knows the first sign of a friend is functioning ears. This is how he knows they are not friends.
The artist is constantly drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. The coffee is gray and runny. It tastes like clay. He does this for no particular reason. He is not tired and his lungs hurt but he keeps drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes because he needs something to do with his hands when they get tired of holding brushes. Which is often.
The artist is also tired of explaining. He is tired of explaining obvious things. He is even more tired of explaining obvious things to people with defective ears who ask a lot of questions. Having to explain at galleries is even worse. The people at galleries always stand around yawning and pulling their ears. They adjust their mustaches and suspenders. The artist notices that people are always adjusting things. He does not understand this. The artist does not understand why people find it so difficult to be.
The artist wants to find someone. He wants to find someone because he is lonely. He wants to find someone to smoke cigarettes and drink his coffee with. He wants to find someone who also knows how to get lost in a canvas. He wants someone he can place in the canvas, whose brushstrokes can leap out at him. Also someone with non-defective ears who feels lonely most of the time. The artist thinks it’s better to be up front and honest about these types of things. He tells them to people and has a hard time. He has a hard time for many years.
After years and years of having a hard time, the artist gives up and starts to tell them different things. He doesn’t mention the coffee or the canvas. He doesn’t mention the cigarettes or the brushstrokes. He doesn’t talk about the ears or the loneliness. He talks about a film he’s seen recently and his commute to work. Eventually the artist finds someone.
The someone is attractive and doesn’t spill wine on the floor. The someone makes good coffee and stands with the artist in galleries as people with defective ears ask questions. The someone doesn’t look at the canvas but occasionally organizes his brushes. Occasionally she lets him paint her.
The artist is feeling something. He knows he feels something with the someone. The feeling is not loneliness and it’s also not not-loneliness. The artist smokes a cigarette and wonders what to do.
The someone comes into the room and the artist looks at her for a long time. He looks at her for what feels like an hour. The someone says nothing. The artist reaches for her skin and touches it. Her skin is rough and white like canvas. He also says nothing.
The artist closes his eyes and immediately the colors start to leap.