Sketches – 89

You don’t look happy

I’m not

What’s going on?

I keep trying to pretend that I’m still thirty, but it’s not working

Why would you want to do that? You are pretty much perfect as you are

Yeah, well, you would think that. Does the thought ever occur to you that maybe your best days are behind you? That the best thing you will ever do, you have already done?

All the time, frankly, yes

Don’t you find that thought depressing?

Honestly, I find thinking itself can be kind of depressing. But I never imagined I would amount to much, so realizing that I’m not can’t really bother me, can it

That is just about the “you-est” thing I think I’ve ever heard you say

What in particular has occasioned this line of thought, you think?

Closing the gallery. And not having any commissions. And 2020. And 2021.

That would do it

And all the diet and exercise in the world doesn’t hide aging. Eventually, you just look like a skinny old woman

Well, I hope I won’t, but I get your point

And I’m in a popularity business. If no one is asking for my work, is it really any good?

Hmm. That’s a lot. Lets take each of those one at a time, shall we?

Okay

You don’t want to pretend to be thirty, or any age younger than you are. It’s like taking a turn that doesn’t belong to you – it’s someone else’s turn to be that age. And, contrary to popular belief, we aren’t as old as we feel, or look, or whatever — we are each as old as we are. And that’s okay

I find that scant comfort. What else have you got for me?

As far as your best days being behind you: the only thing we have to work with is to make the best of however many days we have left, since none of us know. If we can laugh, sing, dance, hear a story, tell a story — these are wonderful things

I like that better

Closing the gallery was sad. But you took a risk. None of us could know about COVID. And it doesn’t mean you won’t open another one someday

Mmm.

As far as diet and exercise go, they suck. But they are also wonderful. Like life. And you are more beautiful than you could ever dream of knowing, and doing it without the benefit of being … quite as young is a real accomplishment

Aw.

And you should never question your work, because you do not and cannot ever know the real effect it has had on people. In the arts, earning money was always going to be choppy. We just have to wait for the next wave

You think?

I do. Look, I’m boring for a living, being an actuary. But the tradeoff with “boring” is “steady” — being in an exciting, glamorous profession like you are means tradeoffs

“Glamorous”, he says, to a woman covered in paint

My mom used to say that the reason she never took up drinking is that “it might have interfered with her suffering”. You are an artist, if you didn’t have all the emotions, you would be at a severe disadvantage

Well, I certainly have them all

Maybe we could get away from here for awhile after New Year’s. Would that help?

It might. What do you have in mind?

I was going to surprise you for Christmas, but I was thinking we might go out west. Like, Colorado.

I’m down for that

Good. Just, try and act surprised on Christmas

I love you, you know. Have I told you that lately?

I’m glad. Loving me will never interfere with your suffering

It can even enhance it, at times

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Beleaguered Servant

Owen Servant is an online poet working in a style that's been described as "compulsive". In real life, he is an actuary, because being a poet wasn't unpopular enough.

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