The Perfect Face
He opened the latched doors. Behind them lay his most coveted possessions. Yet, was rendered useless by the world in which he lived. As he stood in the middle of the room, he looked around him. About thirty pairs of beautiful eyes looked back at him. Each of them had layers of emotion. Some throbbed with a longing, some danced with mysterious joy, yet others looked at him coyly. He had not dared to paint beyond the eyes.
Every chance he got, he came to this room that he considered a shrine, and he painted. He painted pairs of eyes. Beautiful pairs of eyes. He did not see anything else in those vivid dreams of his. Just eyes. And they spoke to him like no human did. They told him stories and engaged him in conversations. That is why he started to paint them, to remember the magic they wove in his sleep. To remind him that they are more than just a recurring set of dreams.
Today, he stood in front of yet another brilliant effort of his, the best he had ever done. And suddenly, on impulse, he gave it a nose. Now, that was something. A sharp pointy nose. He didn’t know why he painted that nose. Or why it carried a single sparkling diamond stone. He certainly did not understand what possessed him to paint the prettiest lips on that face. It was a beautiful pair of ruby red slightly pouty lips. But what made them extraordinary was the ghost of a smile.
He paused to look at that face. He had never seen anything so pretty. For a fleeting moment, he was proud- that he had created the perfect face ever, albeit on canvas. His hands swiftly made some bold strokes and gave life to simple yet assertive eyebrows and put on a pair of modest ears that carried large pretentious earrings. He stood back to admire his own work. She was perfect. Wherever he stood in the room, she looked just perfect.
The following week, he found an advertisement in the paper, seeking paintings from amateurs for an art exhibition.
He was sure she stood a chance at being hung on a wall, men and women would ogle her face, admire her mystery and gaze at her eyes. Just as he expected, she adorned the exhibition wall very soon. He sat in a far corner, observing people who looked at his perfect muse. One gentleman stood for longer than others. He seemed perplexed, overjoyed and absolutely surprised.
The onlooker sought the gallery owner and asked to see the creator of the painting. The owner pointed him towards the far corner from where the onlooker was being observed. He took quick long strides and was beside the painter in a few seconds. He shook hands vigorously and said he’d like to buy the painting and was willing to pay a very handsome price for it. The painter was taken aback. How could he sell her? She was not for sale. She hung there to tease people. To tell them they can look at her but she can never belong to them. This man was mighty audacious!
Breaking into his train of thoughts, the man asked the painter how he knew his fiancé. The painter knew he was a hoax. For as much as he wanted her for himself, he knew she only presented herself in dreamland. But when he saw the onlooker open his wallet and take out a picture, it was as if the painter was getting teased. This girl existed! But he had never seen her in life. And yet, it felt like he knew every inch of her face like it was the back of his palm. That perfect face did not belong to him, then. Not even when he brought it to life on canvas.
The painter signed some papers and held his cheque in hand. He didn’t notice that the 4 was followed by six zeros. He had to get away from there. Away from her. He was back in his room, staring at the beautiful eyes around him. He could not believe she was not here. He spread a new sheet of canvas and inked a brown pair of alluring eyes. As if his hand had a life of its own, it proceeded to give the pair of eyes, a pretty nose. No diamond this time.
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