A Work of Art

 A Work of Art 



         OOne day an artist who was exploring nature, stumbled across a rock, a rough piece with jagged edges and sharp corners.  In this unrefined granite, he saw a wild and natural beauty, so he took it home to create art.


         For days and weeks and months, he gradually carved his anger, engraved his passion and imprinted his love. He chiseled his pain, shaped his fear and grooved his hope. Finally the rock morphed into a naked man sitting on a pedestal.


         Every time the capricious artist touched the statuette, he infused a mélange of emotions into the vague image of himself. And when he gazed at his own creation, his art invoked a fresh blend of sentiments he’d not yet bestowed upon his subject. As many times as the artist strived to reshape the statue, his artwork transformed into a being even more exotic than before, thus less recognizable by his creator.  


         The emaciated man with cadaverous eyes slouched on a pedestal was nothing but a plague lurking in his own dust in the eyes of his maker. He was tossed on the ground and cursed by his creator, yet he never broke. His appalling silence further enraged the artist.  


         The deranged sculptor once grabbed the hammer to crush the jinx yet he didn’t have the heart to break himself into pieces. One day he took the doomed object to a bazaar and secretly deserted his artwork on the counter of a store packed with replica figurines and hastily fled his crime scene with a heart filled with sorrow.


         A few hours later, a woman who was standing a few steps ahead of her husband noticed the statue and screamed, “Look! This one is not fake, a genuine piece of art.” She picked it out from the pile of replicas, paid the same price for it and took it home despite her husband’s protest.  In their house the statue sat on the shelf in peace for only a few days. Every time the couple quarreled, the little statue became a topic in their array of arguments. The husband was not fond of the new addition and had no regard for his wife’s adulation for art.


         The more she showed her affection for the naked man, the more her husband despised the carved stone and cursed its inept creator. And the more he detested the statue, the more she grew fond of him. Soon the statuette became the centerpiece of their constant bickering. Once in the middle of a heated dispute, she grabbed the effigy and before her husband’s bewildered eyes rubbed it all over her body and moaned, “He’s more of a man than you’ve ever been!”  The hatred in her husband’s eyes signaled the end of his sojourn in their house. 


         Later that night in the course of a new argument, once again the statue came under attack. The raving husband suddenly stormed the artwork to smash it into pieces and the wife snatched her beloved art just in time to prevent the tragedy. When the enraged husband viciously attacked his wife, she crushed his head with the statue clutched in her fist. The husband collapsed before her feet. Blood gushed all over the floor. The wife was as petrified as the stone in her hand when police arrived. She was taken away and the statue confiscated as a murder weapon.


For a long time the silent statue was paraded in courtrooms before the anxious eyes of a vast audience and members of the jury during her trial. When she was eventually sentenced to life in prison, the statue was condemned to sit on the shelf along with other murder weapons in a dark room in the central police station. The thinker co-habited with daggers, chains, clubs and shotguns for years until he was finally auctioned off for petty change.


         Then he was repeatedly sold in garage sales and flea markets and lived in different homes. At times, he was thrown at stray dogs and hit the nails on the head. Among other services he rendered, he served as a book holder, a paperweight, and a doorstop.  Until one day a man tripped over this amorphous object and fell. He furiously picked up the carved stone and threw it out the window cursing it under his breath.


         The statue hit the ground and shattered. His entire body scattered on the pavement and his head landed under a bush. His nose broke, his lips chipped and his chin scarred. His face cracked, his neck fractured, and his ears marred. He was not recognizable anymore. Once again he’d turned into what he was before, a crude piece of rock with rough edges and sharp corners. He remained there until a torrential rain swept him off into a creek and he traveled a long distance by the water.


         One day, two children found him on the river’s bank. The little boy used him to draw pictures on the ground. The damaged rock managed to draw a horse and a bicycle on the sidewalk for the boy before he was completely deformed. His eyes were filled with dirt and his ears all worn off.


         The boy tossed the rock on the ground and the little girl picked it up. In this little rock, she saw a face and took it home.  She washed his hair, removed the dirt from his eyes and wiped the scars off his face with her gentle touch. At the dinner table, she placed him next to her plate, caressed his face and kissed him on the cheek. Her mother noticed the rock and her daughter’s affection toward it.


         “Are you collecting rocks sweetie?“ she asked.


         “No, mommy,” the little girl replied, “this is a face. See!”


She showed the blemished statue head to her parents. They exchanged a puzzled look and smiled.


         From that day on, he stayed on the desk by the lamp in her room. His face shone by the nightlight at bedtime when she told him the events of her day. The statue remained her soul mate for years to come. With him she shared all her dreams, her secrets and her hopes. And only once the ruined piece of art shared his life story and she pledged to write his tale.