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The Artist

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“I bet I can make her smile again,”

I declare to myself, staring at this faded representation of a beautiful woman.

The portrait highlights tired eyes and a smile that has slipped at its corners.

I’m sure she was once vibrant and full of life.

I bet her smile could make the saddest person happy again.

I can bring back her colors.”

“It’s no use,” a voice behind me declares. “I’ve tried many times.”

“And who are you?”

 

"I’m the Artist who restored this painting the last time,” he says, shrugging his shoulders, shaking his head.

“Well, maybe you don’t have the right touch,” I say, “I’m an Artist of a different kind.”

“Listen… I’ve restored thousands of paintings, none of which provided me with as much difficulty as she,” he pauses, running his fingers along the edge of her face, “I’m telling you,” he continues, “You will try and try and try and you’ll think you’ve made her happy, but her colors always fade and your energy dwindles until you have to just give up.”

“Well, I’m not you. I will try a different approach if my first doesn’t hold. I don’t give up easily,” I announce, gazing at the painting, planning my initial strategy.

“You’re not listening,” he pleads, “I never gave up easily. I tried painting and repainting her portrait in every possible way. And each time she would appear happier. Her smile would shine. Her bright eyes would glisten as if she was looking at me with adoration and love. As if she appreciated me and cared for me like no one ever has before. But after a few days, her smile would begin to fade. That light—that life in her eyes would disappear…. Look—the painting always fades… And it broke my heart every single time.

I linger in front of the woman, turning this man’s words over in my head, searching for words to prove him wrong.

“You just can’t make her happy. She needs to learn that for herself.”

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