Rupert Beekman

Note: I write with an artists group every other week. This is a rewrite of a Tolkien short story, which is far superior to mine, that I wrote during one of our exercises.

He worked for eight hours and drew one single line that that day. Four hours were spent reading Tennyson, three pacing, 30 minutes cooking, and 30 minutes taking a walk around the block.

The next day, he left his books outside his studio, grabbed his supplies, and began the first twig off of one branch of many branches on the tree that was to be his painting. He finished the twig and its leaf. Though only after starting and stopping more times than he has hair on his head, which aren’t many.

The canvas covered a wall. One night he stared at his little twig and cried. His open casket wake was six days later. His house didn’t sell for years. The fibers in the canvas grew weak and the boards in front began to warp.

It did sell and a family moved in to restore the antique shelter. Their toddler ran about the house and his inconsiderate hand pulled the leaf off if its twig. The boy showed it to his father, a renowned art collector with a habit of selling pieces of little worth backed up by his reputation. He didn’t think much of it, but managed to earn a small vacation fund at an auction for it.

The leaf is now in a walnut frame in a small town art museum mostly dedicated to landscapes and trouts. A local nurse had to console a patient’s family today. She went to the museum after work, herself an artist. Nothing spoke to her throughout her walk until the end of the gallery where hung one little leaf. She blew her nose one last time and read the name.

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