The Painters


color maze by elizabeth chapman“Color Maze” by Elizabeth Chapman


You were painting on a big blank white canvas. It was a random theme; everyone was given freedom to choose what they wanted to draw. And there you went. You decided to paint your life. A little bit of red here, a little bit of blue there, yellow and green and black and white.

It was a room full with bunches of people painting on their own canvases. It was crowded, and sometimes you couldn’t help bumping into each other. Colors everywhere – spatters and blotches of many spectrums.

You wanted to scream; stay away from my painting – do not spurt your colors here! But you had no right to say so, because you had also sprayed some of your colors on other people’s canvases. No one meant it to happen; it happened anyway.

Everyone’s painting was made of mixture of their colors and others’. No painting was left pure – all was tainted in some way. Some hid it with their own colors, some were glad because the additional colors made their paintings looked better; some other didn’t seem to notice. Some tried to combine and improve, some spent their time complaining and whining, and some other didn’t even care.

And – you cried. You cried because it was not how you thought it would be. You thought you controlled your own canvas, but you didn’t. Too many people in the room to make it possible and it was just how it worked.

You tried and tried to fix your painting, but every time you thought it was okay, another splatter would come and land in your crippled canvas. It was frustrating, and you were tired. It was either you accepted – or you ignored them.

So you snatched the canvas and you hid the painting. You hated your painting; you were ashamed of it because it wasn’t what you wanted it to be. You didn’t want to continue painting anymore.

You held the dear painting near your chest, and knelt on the corner. You thought; why did this happen to you? Was it so wrong and ugly – your painting – that the others felt that they had to add something else to fix it?

And then someone came; you were sitting there and he asked you: can I see your painting? And you didn’t want to show him – you didn’t want to show anyone – hell, you didn’t even want to look at that painting anymore; because who would want to see such broken thing? But he stayed and waited patiently, smiling at you. And when you asked him; why? He replied; because I want to know you.

Minutes passed, yet he didn’t leave. Perhaps, you thought, perhaps he would go once you showed him the ugly painting, and he wouldn’t bother you anymore. After all, you had nothing to lose; it was a broken piece anyway.

And so, you showed him the picture. He stared at it for a long time, and then he finally looked at you and said; well, that sure is one messed up painting, isn’t it? And he smiled. And you laughed. You laughed because he was so blunt and honest and straight-forward. You laughed because he didn’t try to sugar coat and fake a cheer for you. You laughed because he didn’t pity you for the ugly crap. And for the first time since you began painting, you smiled.

Then he reached for something behind his back – it was his painting. All broken and ugly and no one could tell what was on the canvas, but somehow it caught your heart, because you felt a sense of familiarity and honesty – and affection. It was not perfect, but it was beautiful. It was how you saw him, and how he saw you: beautifully imperfect, and suddenly it all didn’t matter anymore, because what mattered the most was not the painting, but the painters who poured their souls into the canvas.

So you smiled to him and he smiled to you, and neither one of you gave a shit about a bunch of people that were still painting in that room – you kissed him.

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