+ there was a man ,old. who spent all day painting pictures and crying. .sometimes i would walk by and i can hear him moan lowly as if in terrible realization, sometimes they are choking sobs. sometimes tears stream down his face as he leans on the canvas almost violently waving his brush trying to get as much as he can down before he melts and takes the thought with him. his tears falling into the colors as he mixes his paint. the pictures are all peaceful, calm, idyllicly beautiful. they are two flowers in a sea of cool green grass, a cloud benevolent protecting you enfolding in graying fall, a single dog knowing nothing needing nothing feeling nothing looking up at you in pure, simple innocence. a shoe so real you would think you could pull it off of the picture. an america. an everything. they are everything that is smiling and warm and good. i walk in and watch him. he always lets us watch. he never seems to care, never seems to notice we are there. his doors never seem to be locked. we

walk in, sit, stare. we are none of his concern. he is painting. he cries. if you ask him why he is crying he will not answer.he will look at you , he will look at you with an expression which cannot be read, which comes from beyond your understanding. he furrows his brow, sometimes puts his fingers to his forehead, looks at you with no anger, just simply having nothing to say to you that you could understand. just slightly exasperated that you persist in wanting to know. you are difficult. it is not you. there is nothing to say. there are no words, only the well of eternal depthless sadness in his eyes. then he will walk around you.and keep painting.i sat and watched him as he finished one once. he sniffled, struggling to keep his eyes open as his hand wavers but the brush stays steady adding lines, fleshing his work,focused. he seemed almost afraid. and then he paused. the painting was huge, a slightly taller chalkboard.they were pancakes, a warm gushing stack of pancakes sitting before you on saturday morning, alight on the table,your home, a peaceful gift, breathing out at you smiling. the lines were moist and gently lovingly lit against your eyes, the butter seemed to be falling off of the canvas at you, trembling where it sat in the picture serene and childlike, shining and gushing and inviting.it was done, and he stepped back and looked up at it for a moment, his head slowly rising, trembling a bit as his mouth opened slightly into an inverted bat that his breath sucked in and out of as he just stared at it for a moment, at this beautiful simple statement. and then he broke down completely sobbing.his breath spilled out in a low low low uncontrolled heartbreaking wail, only barely audible, as his face fell into his hands and he convulsed. from time to time he would have to go and sell these paintings. this was how he got his money to eat. he would try to straighten his clothes, choke back the tears, try to gather himself, wrap one of the paintings up in brown paper and tie it to the back of his car so he could drive to an art gallery. he hit the local ones a few times, but usually he would be gone for days, driving to some distant city to offer them his painting. he didn't want to overwhelm them. he could have had a reseller do the driving for him but i don't think he ever thought of it, he always sold them himself. he would try to hold the tears down, and he would more or less make it,though he could not stop the trembling. his eyes would waver and his body would shake slightly as he walked into the office, sometimes tried to feign a smile, tried to not look as if he had been crying for as long as anyone could remember.he failed at that but he went on anyway, forced himself to look up at them and his voice quivering obviously masking everything trying to make sure they feel good not trying to drag them down with him or make pity.brokensmiled and cracked open his weary mouth shivering slightly creepy but so sweet his transparentness and said here, would you like to buy this painting? the person from the art collection would be breathtaken aback. or would drop their brow and look at it hmming slightly. they had never seen anything like it. or they had rather, had of course, had seen it, had seen paintings like it as well. but there was something more there. there was something strong, something almost alive almost vibrant something -there- something.. but never mind.

/it was of course nothing special, nothing special about it at all. just commonplace and ordianary and shining. but it was right. and they would buy it. they would always buy it and be happy to have it, display it prominently upfront in the museum where people would walk by and look at it and smile for a moment before walking on. nothing but just another moment, there, nice, okay. his pure pure scenes. his breath coming heavy choking, hissing between his teeth as he looks down at the floor trying to regain the strength to continue. his sleeve is brushing down and smearing the paint. the paint will be left that way. sometimes he has to step back from the painting and curl up in a little ball for awhile. eventually he will gather himself and stand up in dismayed horror.and steel himself.closehiseyesforamoment.and continue to paint. i do not know, i still do not know, i will never know, what exactly it was that he saw in those moments. it is too late now. the only time we ever see him stop crying it was always the same, it would happen sometimes, almost all of those of us who would watch him saw it at one time or another. it probably happened at least once a day. either way it was always the same way. whatever he was doing, walking between rooms, [gettinga glass of milk, painting, his head bobbing and his mouth crowbarred down and convulsing as he sobbed and his shoulders clung together shivering, and then he would stop. slowly stop walking, keep his eyes shut tight but the tears would stop, his face muscles would untense. and he would freeze for a moment. he would freeze a moment and then stand up, slowly, and his eyes would open a bit and he would stare, distantly stare, like there was something very, very far away he was looking at.though there was nothing.and he would relax. untense completely. his shoulders would drop and he would look off, absorbed in his thought, playing with it, rolling it around inside him. he had found something he was thinking of and it was good. and it made him peace. his mouth would curl up a tiny bit, sometimes barely smile, and for a moment it looked like he had no care in the world. and then he would slowly start walking, and blinking still drifting almostsmiling at ease in his thought he would walk into this one little store room in the corner of his house, close the door behind him, lock it. and he would stay in there some time. we never knew what he was doing. we usually left at this point, but if you stayed you would see him walk back out, shivering slightly, almost staggering, then stand back in the center of the room with the canvas and his shoulders would start jumping again and he would quiver and softly begin to cry. and then he would begin to paint again. we never had the foggiest idea what he was doing in there .and one day we finally just became impatient with curiousity and one of them snuck into the store room while he was painting with a videocamera and hid it in a corner of the room where he wouldn't know he was there. that day when he went into the room we got it, on the tape, saw the next day him walk into the room and shut the door behind him and lock it and flick on the switch. and then stand there for a moment almost seeming almost excited, breathing, looking around and carefully deciding his move in the one thought that let the crying stop. then he went over to the back of the room, stood on some boxes, and reached up pushed open a panel of the ceiling tile to reach and pull down a canvas wrapped in cloth. we hadn't known that was there. he unwrapped the canvas and set it down in the center of the room. and stared at it for a moment, breathlessseeming, careful. and then he almost uncertain a moment but no, this exactly. yes. this. he reached over to the set of paints he had set up there, dipped in the brush, kneeled in front of the canvas on the floor and intent careful so careful made one single brush mark on the canvas and pulled back smoothly, closed his mouth halfnotquitesquinting his eyes and knew it was right. he put down the brush. certain. and then he rewrapped and restored the canvas to its place. it was this painting we eventually found him in front of, this painting that was there, finally completed and set up in his main area right in front of the front door on an easel for all to see. we walked in and found him laying in front of it, the painting that he had finally completed making one single brush stroke each day for god knows how long finished and absolutely impossible to believe that this realness had come from human hands, kneeling, a photo-perfect snapshot of him. of his head, gently exploding outward, in the picture his hand gripping the cold steel of the gun to his forehead, the flash of the explosion eerily frozen against and into his skin where it touched him, the back of his head opened out and screaming and gushing a chaos of blood and bone fragments and chunks of himself flying wildly outward as he blew his brains out. what once was function twisted tiny into little illegible shapes, chunking choking into the silence. he was laying in front of it, his arm reached out randomly, dead, with his face for the first time that any of us had seen him completely and totally emotionless.

i don't remember what they said he died of.

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