The Artist

One masterpiece. Just one. One that he would be remembered by. One that would go down in history. That was Mark’s dream, the reason why he wanted to be an artist. He had everything, the fancy brushes, the leisurely hours and the sincere passion. What he didn’t have was talent.
His parents never told him. They didn’t want him to be shattered. His work, which he would proudly display wasn’t horrible, but it was average, just average, and could never be perceived by anyone, as great. They would secretly plead with their friends to praise his art, whenever they would come to visit, and even bribe some people to come around and buy. After all, his was an ambitious dream. They wanted their son to be happy, but it was tough for them to keep the façade going.
It was during this time, that Mark got struck with a nervous disorder. He would have sudden fits and most importantly, he lost the power of his hands. He would never be able to paint again. He was completely crushed. His parents were in two minds-they were dismayed at his state, but were also relieved that they wouldn’t have to make up stories anymore.
Mark started getting over his depression, all by himself. He would go visit an obscure little art museum, nearby, which was owned by an old man, and his grandson, and spend hours there. He loved art after all. Eight years thus passed by peacefully, along with him undergoing treatment.
He told his parents, one day, that he had gotten better and would be able to start painting again. His parents were devastated. Not that they weren’t happy about his good health, but they didn’t know if they could re-start all the lies, all over again. They decided to tell him the truth after he would show them his first painting, after recovering. When he did show them, they were awestruck. It was amazing. Mark had actually created something beautiful. Now eager to support him, they decided to publicize it. Offers came, one after the other, and soon, Mark became famous and successful. He, however, remained unaffected by everything. He would still faithfully visit the little art museum, and it was in fact, there, where he used to go to create a new painting. He would stay there and talk endlessly with the owner and his grandson. They had become close over the last few years.
He announced to the news, suddenly, that he was about to retire. The Art world was shocked. He wasn’t old, neither had his talent waned, so there was no reason for him to quit. But Mark was adamant. He said that he was tired, and wanted a rest, but promised that his last painting would be the best, the very best. “ My masterpiece”, he said, “ My lifelong dream”.
The night before the display, Mark went over to the museum. It was him, and the other two in the demo room. The artist was busy, engrossed in his work, while the other two watched in awe and excitement. All the three loved art, and as the painting came nearer completion, their excitement kept growing. Mark’s hands were shaking, he quickly popped a pill and resumed. The painting, aptly titled ‘The Swan Song’ consisted of a ring of baby angels, each holding a tiny harp. In the center was a huge swan, about to take off into flight. Finally, it was complete. All three looked at it with wonder. Genius, Flawless. Magical. The painting depicted both happiness and sadness, associated with farewell, with the smiles on the faces of the angels, and the sad eyes of the swan. Mark couldn’t believe his eyes, it was truly a masterpiece. He walked over to the old man, and after giving him an envelope from his pocket, said, “ Don’t worry about him leaving tomorrow. They will take good care of him in the Lincolnshire School for the Mentally Handicapped”. They both turned to look at the autistic grandson. He was panting, with all the excitement, and his fingers were covered in paint.

About the author: Roopkatha Ghosh is a first year MBBS student at KMC, Mangalore.

Edited by: Manognya Chekragari

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