Thursday, June 08, 2006

Said He to the Fly

In the corners of a lonely room, where the only contact with the world was a bad colour-television and an uncharged mobile phone, the author would look around and think of nothing more to do than count the squares in the ceiling. And this not for too long, for the size of each of the nine was often large enough to pass over, and sometimes too small to count to the end. Time ticked, trickled like water leaking from a rusty pipe. On the wall was nothing but two drawings of him, each of which bore different semblances of his different moods, but nonetheless a product of one and the same picture. He savoured erratic temperament of the artist's muse which had failed to for once be consistent when the artist worked. Or how else would he explain the very obvious discrepancies even in the age of the subject of the two pencil drawings but to believe that it could actually have been another god - maybe that of wine - who brought the mischief lag in-between two drawings. The reasons given for making the second drawing at all was that he had atone for the rough handling of the first. Afterall, the poet had paid only for one, wishing all night that a self-portrait in pencil will achieve a quality desired and worthy of some future use. But what the artist could not explain, but was now obvious more than words could express to this commissioner, this poet, was why one of the drawings, made from one and the same photograph depicted him younger than the other. It was him alright, but the first one - the one roughly done, perhaps in vino tinto, showed someone stern, focused, and quite like a pensive poet he would not mind to portray. The second had a smaller head, same posture, same shirt - actually from the same photo he took on the lawn under the tree where the Kenyan photographer taught him swahili a little over a year earlier. But this version somehow had a younger, naive and quite innocent look. He surely had looked like that at some point in his life, but surely not here, and he had not commissioned a drawing to underrate his admired pose in that solo photo. The visitors to the room who, out of curiosity, had peeled off the top cardboard to glimpse the other one behind it never for once agreed on which one represented him the most. And only a few agreed that it was not just vanity that made him prefer the older, more serious look to the other. They agreed, however that whoever did the drawing was good. And indeed he was.

Mosquitoes ruled the night. In addition to the cold, he reviled them. And in his angry swatting at the air in the dead of the night, his shirt as a tool, he still thought of the human error to kill a wrong fly. Maim an innocent fly while scouting just for those mosquitos that would not even keep quiet to hide their presence but would taunt him awake from a much deserved rest.

"They would blame themselves alone for looking like a mosquito." He thought.

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