This is an excerpt I cut off a short story of mine I hope to publish somewhere. I thought I’d still like for it to be read. Enjoy!
Has it been years?
I asked myself this, walking slowly down the shore of the Rhone as I waited to wake up. I was too tired to be afraid anymore, even though this painting attacked me constantly. The star I was always fascinated with had become my worst enemy.
When I finally woke up, I’d make Mother tea and call Sandy about that job. She was right—one painting had limited me to dream of nothing else. Soon I would open my eyes to find myself asleep on that old red armchair.
I would look at the clock and find I’d slept for five minutes. Right now, though, it felt like I’d been trapped for five years.
A lot of dreams were like that.
I thought of that bird and how its song was really quite beautiful. I thought of the cat and how she’d poke around the closet. I decided I’d try cupcake art, too, and it wouldn’t be a waste of time because kids ate them at birthday parties.
Life would be good.
Kneeling by the river, I reached into the water. It shied from my hand, so I couldn’t feel the current. Closing my eyes, I tried remembering the sensation of walking along a stream. Or a faucet running over my fingers—yes, that should do it.
“At least that painting’s finally finished,” I whispered to myself. “You mastered it, Oliver. Good job.”
But I was not happy alone by the river I could not feel. Beneath a sky I could not bear to look at.
I sat and cried and waited to wake up.
I had to eventually.