Man of Smoke
The edge of his cigarette glows excitedly, whispering silent challenges that taunt him to inhale deeper, deeper, more and more. He sighs at the sight of ashes across the floor, the ashes of guilt from the promise he just broke.
John Doe was a man of harmony, a man who devoured his every inner bone of life towards art; of balancing, oil painted strokes smeared on clean, unscratched canvas of white, painting rainbows and chime of glory.
There was a sense of longing eating up his heart, swallowing his mind like a lump of heartless, heartless beast as he eyed the impatient fire engulfing every edge of them; the canvas, the masterpiece, his masterpiece.
They fawned, they cheered, they gasped and they cried over his work. They clapped, they bowed and they praised every art of his when they were first pinned against the gallery’s pale, pale wall.
But that was long time ago when everything was at its rightful place.
Oh, where are your brushes now?
“I don’t know.”
Mr. Doe, what happened?
“A lot of things.”
John, why did you stop doing what you’re supposed to do?
“I stop because I have to. Stop saying it as if I have another choice.”
He is broken.
The John Doe that everyone knew was dead, long time dead.
Because all you will ever see is a man in his fifties who had given up on everything; on life, on art, but most importantly on himself.
All there is once you burned something would be ashes and dust.
And those are that ever matter.
He stands up, blows the edge of the sinful tobacco leaves, sprouting dust of ashes like a dandelion flower of spring, before finally shutting down its brightness and flare against the ashtray.
Behind him, the fire continues to eat up the leftovers of his paintings.
A shorter version was posted on my personal blog.