Jun 30, 2011

The Canvas

by Misal Shujjat

The night was silent, the last of the candles were burning out;
melting, flickering and dying as they choked on their own wax.
Somewhere outside, an owl hooted followed by the light rumble of
thunder in the distance; a warning of an impending storm.

The room was empty except for the single man sitting hunched over on
his bed. The moonlight spilt in from the tiny window next to the bed,
the light slanting across the wooden floor and creating a strange
array of shapes in it's path.

The man in question was not a very large fellow. In fact, he was quite
slender. His skin shone almost pale in the white moonlight and the
faintest hint of muscle showed through the fabric of his nightgown as
his pencil moved across the canvas in his lap.

The lead spread over the blank stretch of the off white canvas with
every stroke of the man's practised hand, tracing a path of its own.
Each dot extended into lines, breaking into curves; smoothing, shaping
molding itself to the figure of a man. Broad shoulders, dark hair,
eyes that looked intense even in lead…

The man continued to work with an aggressive vigour, never pausing
until finally, his pencil clattered to the floor landing and he
gripped the canvas with both hands, staring at it with thoughtful

The canvas showed the image of a man; so vivid in detail from the scar
running along his jaw to the slight tug of lips hinting at a smile
that it could easily have been real.

Absently, the artist touched the picture, his fingers smudging the
lead. He traced a light finger over the outline of his deceased
younger brother’s face; along his jaw, over his lips coming to a rest
on the curve of his cheek.

He pressed his fingers to the canvas, almost feeling the warmth of the
skin and wished there was some way the image would come to life.

The picture remained as frozen as ever, as did his brother's fate.
There was no coming back, nothing more left of his brother other than
the memories the man clung to more dearly than his own life.

His brother was gone and he wasn’t coming back.

(inspired by Asad Zaidi's “The Bathroom”)


Anonymous said...

Rahima can you please edit my last name? It's Shujjat with double 'J' not 'A', thanks :)

Shazaf said...

Great Job Misal!

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