Monday, February 18, 2013

Your Image (An Artist's Martyrdom)

Another Vampire Lady by ~EinhanderZwei on deviantART

I draw you. Every day, every night, each time I set my sights on paper and pencil. I’m far from being tired of lining out the curves of your body, applying all kinds of images to you, alter the states that you are presented before me in with each picture. One day you are Queen Cleopatra, the next day you are a poor beautiful slave. The next day you are a fearless stellar amazon, racing in your space fighter on light speed, ready to fight the intergalactic injustice. The next day, you are a gentle and fragile saloon singer, waiting for your Clint Eastwood to come.

Today you are a seductive vampire wearing elegant black lingerie. Your lips are stained with blood, but no graphic details were able to conceal your ethereal beauty. You are standing on the stairs of an ancient, albeit roughly sketched, castle, holding a green apple in your hand. Swallowed in obsession, I was adding all the folds, shadows, strokes, touches, like it was someone else controlling my hand. I could call you my muse, but they are supposed only to symbolize the inspiration. Contrary, you are my inspiration. If you pass away one day, I would never hold a pencil again.

I moved the album sheet away and lit a cigarette. These thoughts were forcing me to take a break. I was reflecting on the misery I lived ever since. The sole fact of your existence fueled my inspiration, but you would never be aware of this. Destiny itself made you never supposed to be mine, because I am not the one you need. You won’t be happy with a half-crazy amateur artist, because you deserve much more beautiful life. I saw you surrounded by the rays of gold, dancing on the edge of a rose thorn. I wanted to give you a rose, a bouquet, one hundred bouquets, all the roses in the world.

Today I’ve decided to draw at home. Usually I was sitting in the park, listening to the measured noise of cars driving by, dogs barking and birds tweeting. My drawings attracted lots of curious looks, but that didn’t bother me - I know that my style is unique and one of a kind, as some time ago, during a conflict between realism and style in my head, the style prevailed.

On one of such days, when I was sitting on a bench by the city pier, I saw her, another girl. Her hair was waving elegantly in the wind, she wore a lightweight white dress, belted with the blue ribbon. I was looking at her, unwilling to move my hand holding a pen. After thinking for a minute - I don’t remember of what - I lowered my sight slowly upon the paper sheet, where I’ve already drawn the familiar black hair, accurate forelock, big deep eyes, accented lips, slightly rounded nose...

- Is this your girlfriend? - the blond-haired stranger asked while taking a seat next to me.
- No... - I moved my sight away and turned the sheet upside down in confusion. - Doesn’t matter.
- Please excuse my curiosity, but your drawing was very nice! - she replied casually.
- Thank you very much. - I gave her my tired smile.
- I’m going to be an artist too, taking the art classes already. But my style is very different from yours. Can’t even imagine whose is similar!

We’ve spent some more time talking about cute nonsense, and then she said that her time to go had come. I was reluctant to stay any longer either, and after staring at her walking away, I packed up my stuff and, having thrown the bag over my shoulder, went over to the public transport stop. When the bus arrived, I occupied one of the free seats inside and started thinking about you while looking at the window. Where are you now? Are not you hiding behind a corner to pop up suddenly, as it was countless times before, to make my heart pound faster and my words stick up my throat? I sighed.

My new acquaintance was sitting there too, across my seat. I’ve noticed her on one of the previous stations, when she was walking in and going through the bus interior looking for somewhere to sit down. I haven't pointed at the seat next to mine because I wasn’t in a talking mood at that point. Sometimes, people complain to have a lack of communication, but to me it’s always the other way around - getting fed up by the verbal garbage, migraine, being uninspired. All the thoughts were polluted with down-to-earth talks about nothing, concealing your image, like a TV screen behind the wall of dust. I was still gazing through the window at the city filled with sunlight, rolling before me like the scenery at the puppet show.

I left the bus. Slowly, uncertainly, I walked towards my house. Standing at the gate, I turned around. My new acquaintance happened to live next door, and through all this time, turns out, I’ve never crossed paths with her. Smiling awkwardly and nodding towards each other, we opened our gates almost simultaneously and went through our yards. I’ve entered the house and lowered myself in the armchair. I was neither hungry nor thirsty, as well as didn’t fell much about drawing. I was just listening to the clock beating soullessly in the hall.

She paid me a visit the next day. We have exchanged our names, I’ve made us some tea, and we started talking about art. Like a deus ex machina, her artworks album appeared from within her bag. Looking through it, I felt myself even more pathetic. Her drawings were beautiful, lively and saturated. I never was a fan of redundant still life, but this feeling was obsolete right now - I was ready to stretch my hand and touch the pictured fruits, drink non-existent water and breath in the absent aroma of the paper flowers. My drawings were never as good.

A couple days later we crossed our paths in the shopping mall, where I was buying pencils. A little later she summed up the courage to give her phone number to me, and so did I. Some more time later, she asked me to draw something in her presence. I drew you, a sexy business lady wearing the strict suit. She was enraptured. I was about to cry.

She invited me over to her house a week later. She was asking me lots of questions about you, because she was imprudent to see a large heap of sketches dedicated to you - sketches that you would never see. I gave up finally.

- Does this girl exist in real life?
- Yes. - I nodded my head in hopelessness.
- Do you love her?
- I’m breathing her... - my reaction was neither straight nor elusive.
- Your talent is so beautiful... - her eyes were closed, I felt her flavor. - Breathe me in.

Since then, each week I drew something under her surveillance, sometimes filling up entire albums, and in return, she gave me unforgettable evenings and nights, letting me go off her soft, snow-white bed only in the morning. She was visiting me, too, but after a few times being in the presence of your portraits, her enthusiasm had started to seemingly diminish.

I remember that rainy day. I don’t know if it was a dream or not, but for the first time I saw her crying. I asked her about the matter. She told me that she could never be mine, knowing that I’m always drawing and thinking of someone else. Her nerves were at the edge - it seemed like she could find and dispose of you. I didn’t want that to happen, so I promised to destroy all the pictures that contained you.

I watched my disheveled crying angel walking away, and then slowly returned to the house. I did not have enough courage to sum up and do what I was eagerly promising minutes ago. To part with my inspiration to be happy with someone who was there, right now, near me? If I would have no inspiration, there will be no point for me to draw at all. And who am I when I have nothing to draw? Only you, being no more alive than she, hovering somewhere over the horizon, gave me the strength to go on and be somebody because of it.

The skyline skewed. A shadow blinked behind the window, but my lifeless eyes didn’t pay attention. I was sitting near the mirror, looking on my own reflection, illuminated by a lonely candle standing amidst the darkness of my room. I still didn’t know if I was dreaming, but in one hand I was holding a sheet with one of your countless portraits on, and the other was squeezing the knife's handle. Maybe I really brought it towards your image, maybe I didn’t. Maybe, the triangular blade hadn’t touched your drawn cheek, didn’t slide down across your neck, didn’t come off after reaching the collarbone. I might had found the courage to slide the blade across your image, but I still didn’t have the strength to press it and start cutting.

Lazy fat drops were crawling across the window glass, followed by the smaller and faster ones. I closed my eyes, but the picture was still before me, hanging suspended in my ill imagination. The knife pierced your forehead, slowly sliding down to the eyebrow. I’ve opened one eye. There was a horrible cut in the middle of the portrait that belonged to the perfect woman, one whom I was ready to sacrifice myself for. And then I thought that the worst part was already behind. I’ve gathered myself up to bruise my partially imaginary significant other. It all would be easier now. And so, your beautiful, slightly rounded nose was crossed by the careful yet strong knife move. Your left eye, so bottomless and shining as the right one, was split into half. Your sensual lips I was dreaming to get drunk from, were disfigured. I didn’t leave an inch of your angelic face, your beautiful image untouched. Now you definitely were not the most beautiful woman in the world.

I dropped the knife, still staring at the carved drawing. How could I desecrate you so horribly? What was guiding my hand when it was landing these terribly ugly scars? My face didn’t move a muscle, but doling tears started running down my cheeks. I’ve raised my miserable eyes against the mirror. I didn’t know if what I saw further was real anymore, but I believed what I’ve seen. I don’t know if your silhouette reflecting from the window sprayed with rain was real, but I believed that you were really standing there. I didn’t know if there really were no clothes on you, but I was sure that you had nothing to hide. Did you really walk up slowly to me, embrace me from behind by my shoulders, put your hand on one of them, pressing your velvet breast against my shoulder blade? I don’t know if you raised your face to look at the reflection of your mutilated admirer. But what I knew for sure was that the horrible bloody ulcers and slashes on your tender image perfectly corresponded the cuts I’ve landed on your portrait.

-- September 3rd, 2012

* * *

Click here for the Russian version: