The Artist

I met her just a couple of months ago, when she was searching for a color. That was the first thing she told me. I recognize I did not understand at first.

I fully remember the zephyr of that day —her hair fluttering in it, her face, her eyes… but her hands were what made her unforgettable.

I was already a writer in those days, but she was the Artist. She knew it, I knew it too, although I had never seen any of her work. She continued to destroy it.

Destroy it to protect it, to keep the intimacy of it to herself. She did not expose it, she did not expose herself.

Once I could see that her hands were stained with green. I assumed she had been painting, and when I asked her she confessed —leaving aside her usual silence— that indeed she had been.

When I woke up the next day, I looked out the window and I could not believe what I was seeing. The trees were white, as well as the grass. It was not snow —we were in the middle of the Summer— but it looked as if they had simply lost their greenness. As if the color had been lost or had never existed.

I asked to see the painting from the previous day. As usual, she confessed that she had destroyed it. We walked through the park next to her house, a place we had visited before. However, she did not seem to realize that something was wrong, that below us there was only alabaster grass and that the trees were fully bleached.

I didn’t want to speak about it with anyone, because I thought that perhaps I had finally become crazy.

But the following day when I looked at the sky and there was no blue in it, I called her. It was the first and last time I would.

“Have you been painting?” I asked.

“Yeah, but you won’t be able to see it. I just destroyed the canvas,” she confessed after letting out a long sigh.

“Could you at least tell me what you painted?” I asked, hoping that her answer would give me a clue for the mystery I was witnessing.

“I can give you one clue,” she said. “It was something blue.”

Month passed. And each month a color disappeared from reality.

The last time I saw the Artist, I could only smile at the beauty of the scene. We were under the starry night, with the Moon and the stars shining white, above an ivory grass that made me think of angel feathers. Her hair had turned white. My eyes had turned white. Only the red of our lips remained.

“I have searched for the essence of each color,” she told me. “And I found it. I have beaten God and Nature, and I have painted the essence of each color. Except for this one,” while she talked she touched my lips. While she talked, she kissed me.

I could not understand her, she was… beyond me. But I believed her. I could see the black and white reality, and I knew she was telling the truth. The Artist had been able to seize the essence of color.

Sadly, it was the last time I would see her.

The next morning I looked at myself in the mirror, and found my lips as pale as the rest of my face. I ran to her house, in part to congratulate her on her triumph, for having discovered the essence of every color. In part because I was already in love with her.

An inconsolable mother opened the door.

The Artist laid on her bed, without any destroyed canvas, but with her wrists torn apart. The blood spread over the sheets and the white wood flooring. The liquid coming out of her veins was losing its scarlet color moment by moment, confounding itself with the black and white that now reigned supreme.

The Artist had found the essence of the last color.

And as usual, she had destroyed her work.

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