I woke up late night on a Wednesday to meet a dead- line I gave to myself. Finish a painting before morning. The problem was, I had nothing. I tried drinking coffee but all that did was excite my empty mind. I felt like I was watching TV but someone else was holding the remote. One minute I wanted to wake up my wife and my son to help them experience real insomnia; the other I wanted to run to the store and pick the perfect Pringles.
A few hours in I force myself to sit down and just pick up my brush and let my hand guide me. I’m pretty sure someone watching from upstairs is saying “If I had a penny every time a painter tried this..” and they’d be right. About my situation then at least.
The whole tableau looked like something my 2 year old son doodled. You know one of those “artworks” mothers keep in that special album to show you how talented you once were. Or the shit work artists present as “abstract”. Should I have done that? *breaks the forth wall”
Anyways, nothing came out. I even questioned the whole idea of the professional artist. Who chooses to paint? Why couldn’t I have gotten a degree in Economics or something?
Funny, my hormonal teenage rebellion led me to this and now I want to be like my father, who is now painting as a hobby. I guess he just didn’t want me to starve.
“people look at what makes them happy, I like my son… sometimes” I say to myself and decide to check on him. He was lying there sleeping all tired out. It was adorable for a minute until I noticed the drool sipping trough the mattress. It’s a funny thing. My father also drooled when he slept. He takes on after his grandpa, I guess. I also thought “Will he become an accountant? Is he going to be the best accountant? What the hell am I saying? There’s no way I’ll let him be an accountant! I can’t let him throw away his sex life like that! If he continues like this he’ll probably never give me the chance to give him the talk…” it scared me.
For a few minutes, I just stared at his drool and debating if it was worth the trouble of cleaning it or just let him lie in it and take a picture for teen years embarrassment purposes. As I took a picture on my phone and document my son’s drool problem, I started to ask myself “do I drool when I sleep? And what the fuck does it mean?” I turned to my bedroom to and my wife dead asleep, she was already taking up 3⁄4 of the bed.
I found myself painting again, except this time every painting I painted somehow was related to my father. His chair, his jacket, his knife, his belt, his joyless collection of grey shirts. So I decided to focus on my son’s drool. That just made it even worse. It was like I amalgamated my father with my son to create this super villain accountant businessman that keeps buying my paintings at insultingly low prices.
For a moment I stopped to notice that it was already morning. My son who was half asleep and talking nonsense was also walking in the living room. As he slowly opened his eyes, I notice him staring at the paintings of my father, who for some reason looked even more handsome after each trial. He quietly says “ Pa. I think I want to be like him when I grow up”