[Flash Fiction Challenge #28]Stop by Thain in Vain’s blog to read entries from some wonderful writers. See below for info about this week’s prompt.
Try four billion years of crushing pain. Try being smushed into bits, compressed and cemented into sedimentary substances and then heated and pressurized into metamorphic rock, and then melted into magma. Try being shot out of a small funnel in the earth, out into the atmosphere, and dropped back down in waves of lava that smother everything in sight. Then you wait for a million or so more years as you’re cooled and eroded and you start the whole thing all over again. Try that, Paul Simon.
Not long ago, relatively speaking, I was a chip off the old block of marble, carved and shaped into David. Yes, that David. Michelangelo-freakin’ genius-David. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders as he chipped and sculpted the veins and curls and rippled muscle, revealing the hidden me.
Now I stand in a Florence art museum where tourists and students pass and admire my gaze. I hear their whispers and see them nodding. Yes, I am magnificent now but once, for an insanely long time, I was just a rock.
Today, a young art student is drawing a sketch of me. He shows up every day, after 1pm, disheveled and reeking of wine, wearing baggy jeans and a white t-shirt. He reminds me of another young man who visited regularly nearly a century ago. I later learned his name was Picasso; the docent would talk about his visits and later his fame.
Today’s student likes to show me his work after each sketch. I don’t think there are many Picassos left in the world. I can’t tell him this, of course. Although sentient, I am still a rock and rocks don’t talk. If I could, I would tell him to give up the drink. I know a thing or two about artists. Drinking never helps. It makes them smash things – and as a rock, I’m a little traumatized by smashing.
Today the young man starts to cry. I am grateful to see an older woman approach him. She sits down and puts an arm around his shoulder. They are strangers. A kindness fills the hall. I can feel it in my cold bones. She asks him why he is so troubled and he tells her that he will never be an artist.
“But you’re already an artist,” the old woman says, pointing to his sketchbook. “How can you not be something you already are?”
Of course, she is right. Other artists turned me into cubes and three-headed monsters. Then she says, “Think about that marble. It was once a slab. Don’t you think it is happy to be drawn or sculpted into anything other than a slab? This is life. We create kindness when we pay attention. We honor the world.” She smiles, stands, gives me a little nod and walks away.
Now I understand Paul Simon.
Flash Fiction Challenge #28 at Thain in Vain
Prompt: Your protagonist is an inanimate object granted sentience by a higher power.
Word Count: 499