It is the last week of the year and I am in a dilemma—
Running marathon on a steep path and finishing adorned; or sprinting along a smooth lane only to come out alive. But why is it that in this life of mine, I usually have only two options?
It doesn’t seem I’ve got a way out of this dilemma yet, so I stroll into my art gallery. I have not been there in a while. I draw the curtains to allow light rays fall into the room, then I pull out a chair and start to sketch a portrait of myself— the kind I have longed to possess for ages.
I do not like to see dark hues in a work so in that drawing, I am appearing bright and beautiful and my face is beaming with all the colours of the rainbow.
I do not like broken lines too, so with my eraser, I clean the broken lines where a pair of glasses sits on my nose, carefully converting them all into perfect lines with my ruler.
My canvas will soon be wearing that perfect portrait of me.
I look at this work of art again with great enthusiasm; it is almost complete. I feel so satisfied that I do not know when my lips part to drip smiles from the corners of my mouth.
Then a man approaches me whom I do not know. He’s old enough to be my father but his own face glows. He doesn’t knock nor turn the knob and I can’t fathom which way he entered through.
Apart from the chancel lamp in his hand that gives off warm light and resembles a mini home theatre, there’s something about him that surpasses my understanding and even his stance sends ounces of awe down my spine.
I am admiring him until he says I should let him hold my tools, let him have my canvas, let him own this art gallery and he’ll make a better portrait of me. I giggle. What is better than my own “perfect”? My own “perfect”.
I am angered. I am nervous. I can feel my intestines twisting, hear the gush of acid pouring into my chest from my stomach at the sound of his request. It seems I can even hear as my valves are opening to pump blood out of my heart because both of my legs are now becoming warm.
But, there is something about him that makes me have a rethink about refusing to give him chance. I look at him again with uncertainty. He doesn’t look like someone who can violate my work yet I’m afraid.
I’m afraid he might alter, alter this piece in which I am almost becoming a perfect portrait of my dream self….
Ayooluwa Olasupo (Imisi)