The Art Lesson

He waited for an hour, and he felt hungry and pissed off. He and Meg agreed to meet in the park and then go to have lunch somewhere before the class started. He called her a hundred times, but she never answered.

“I’m sure she forgot to recharge her phone again. So typical!” He came up to the college and watched students, entering and leaving through the big oak door. “Why is she always like this? It was her idea, after all, to take art lessons, and now she isn’t here.”

“I won’t wait anymore,” he finally made up his mind. “She will be angry, but it’s not my fault that she never arrived. I will go there by myself.”

He didn’t know anything about art, and, truly, wasn’t interested. But she said, “Stephen, you need to develop your creativity,” and he bought brushes, oil, pencils and a couple of sketchbooks and signed up for this course.

He entered the classroom and sat behind one of the easels that stood near the window. Every now and then he threw a glance outside in hope to see her hurrying in. The teacher talked about importance of seeing things the way they are and not allowing common prejudices and tricks of mind to prevent you from portraying life that flows in front of you. Then she explained main principles of chiaroscuro and put a cube and a ball on the table in front of her. “Now, take pencils and draw what you see,” she said.

“Art is even more boring than I expected,” he thought and looked through the window. “Why is she doing this to me?”

“Is something wrong?” The teacher stood behind him and looked at the sheet of paper he hadn’t touched yet.

“Ah, well… I don’t know where to start,” he said.

“Start with the main forms, try to grasp the proportions. Then work on details, ok?”

He nodded ok, lifted his hand with a pencil and watched the teacher check other students’ work. “Something is wrong,” he thougt and looked through the window again. This time he saw her. Meg was standing at the stairs and was not in a hurry at all. She was talking to Matt, the guy they met once at the Halloween party. Matt was a football team captain, and she was impressed with his biceps and giggled when he offered her to touch it.

Stephen got mad at her for this shameless flirting right in front of him and rushed out of the party. Later she called him and said that she was sorry, that she was drunk and that she could never be seriously attracted to someone like Matt. “He’s a sportsman, they all so shallow, you know. You are smart.”

He forgave her then; he thought it would be stupid to break up over something so insignificant; he even blamed himself for being ridiculously jealous. But now she was kissing Matt.

“Importance of seeing things the way they are,” he gloomily looked at the teacher. “This is what I should draw instead of these stupid shapes. The betrayal that flows in front me.”

He turned away from the window. He didn’t want to see anything, he didn’t want to think about anything. He only could sit and stare at the white paper.

When the teacher came up again to check on him she saw “Fuck off!” written in the middle of the sheet. She frowned but didn’t say anything and passed by Stephen who was sobbing now, hiding his face behind his hands.


14 thoughts on “The Art Lesson”

  1. Jolly Good, Joan.
    I feel this story is written simply and in a style I can understand because I write like this- a little faltering, a little confident when you have found something you identify with- then slow again, when your thoughts sort off go off track.
    Nice though.

  2. You’ve taken some art classes. Great metaphor comparing the fundamentals of art to the perils of modern dating. Poor Stephen. Why can’t the smart guy get the girl every once in a while?

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