I stare at my blank canvas. I know what I need to paint, but feel a strong urge to rest. Looking back, I know this will never be finished. When this began, I think my apartment had a soft blue color and it overlooked a park of absolute beauty. Now, the trees are misshapen and off color. I don't know if they'll ever look good again.

How are you feeling today?” I wave off the formality. She has a turquoise sculpture of something on her desk; half of it is missing and I wonder what it used to be. I'll have to embellish on that. “I got some of those stiff brushes you wanted.” I know this, they're what I came for. We make the exchange, and I can't help noticing that the presidential face is off tilt on my currency. She takes it and stuffs it in the register and I leave.

After doing the same thing over and over and over and ovwr and over again, even the most meticulous will maek one or two mistakes.

I try to ignore my emotions and not let them hit the canvas. This is an objective piece. And it needs to look exactly like its predecessor. But if only I could just see the predecessor one more time. I can't tell how much of what I see is from memory and how much is embellished lies. After staring at an egg-white wall, maybe after a long time I won't even see the egg, only white.

The apple I taste is always sweet. But were apples really so sweet when I started? Has my sense of taste begun to deceive me as well? Were bananas always sour? Grapes always juicy?

“How are you fee...” I angrily cut her short and then blame it on the stress. Of course, she perfectly well understands stress. I'm transfixed on the dark-green sculpture of a toad on her desk. “I got some...” I stop her short again. But I apologize, it's not nearly my fault. I just use my great little excuse: “I'm dealing with a lot of stress. On a related note...” Those thin bristles, great for those terrible, too fucking small details that you just can't avoid. We make the exchange. I think I finally got the money right, but then I look up. She's missing hair. I can't stop staring. She's never missed hair before. I ask for some white paint. We make another exchange. I wet my brush with the paint and lean forward.

Replicas upon replicas upon relucas upon replicas upon replicas.

He looks at it, and looks away. “I don't get it.” I yell at him that it's not done yet. Still doesn't get it. Hiding behind his uncreative unattractive, gaudy fucking oak desk. Well, it will be a fractal. He wants it done and done fast. Of course. How can he make money selling it when it takes forever painting it.

My blank canvas taunts me. I want to replicate what I see, but I wonder how far I can go. Sure I can create one more level for the fractal, but then I'll just step into that painting and make another! The trees outside now look so crooked. And I know they shouldn't be gray. In my torment, I go to the kitchen for some fresh water. I pass the mirror and cut my trip short. I become transfixed with the wrinkles that have appeared on my face. The gray hairs. The sagging eyes. The old man staring back made me wonder how long I've been doing this. I couldn't remember the original world anymore. I wonder whether it really existed or had I just imagined it did. But either way, I'm doomed to recreate the world I wanted over and over. But first, I need to do something about me. My bones ache as I grab my brush and paints and come back to the mirror. It hurts to grip the brush with a sudden realization of arthritis. My fingers tremble as I hold the brush up to the mirror and prepare to paint my face young.

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