Henry found life tedious more often than not. The only bright spot in his day was Ariadne who ran past him early every morning, rain or shine. Sometimes she even sat on him for a while. She always patted him and thanked him for providing her a seat before she left, but though she braved the winter storms, she never sat with him through one. He admired the way she ran. Running, she looked like a gull on the wing. Her hand, when she patted him, was soft and her skin was a beautiful shade of aged brass.
One late-spring morning he summoned the courage to talk to her. She was, understandably, a little weirded out when she discovered she was sitting on a sentient rock. Once she recovered, they became friends. She stopped by every day and they talked about the world away from the beach. She revealed that she was an artist and they had long talks about art, especially the pieces she made that got put on display in parks.
It was late-summer when Henry finally broached the idea that germinated the day he learned what she did. He felt more than a bit awkward about bringing it up. He didn’t want her to think he had only befriended her in order to ask for this favour. With winter’s loneliness looming on the horizon though, he didn’t want to put it off any longer. When he explained that he wanted Ariadne to turn him into art so that he could be put in a park, she freaked. She told him she’d have to cut him, shape him into something else. Doing so might kill him. Even if it didn’t kill him, it would be painful.
Henry didn’t care. He wanted to get off the beach. He was sick of spending half the year alone with nothing to look at but surf and cold seagulls.
They had their first fight. Ariadne walked away and didn’t visit for several days. Henry cursed himself for spoiling what they had and was miserable until she came back. She stared at him in a way that she’d never done before. Then she asked him a lot of questions and he answered them as well as he could and she nodded and squinted at him and refused to make any promises.
She returned the next morning as though nothing had happened, and Henry didn’t push for an answer. A week later she arrived late. She had several men and a large truck with her. It took them all day to dig him free and drive him to her studio and, if he’d been capable of it, he would have been exhausted from all the excitement.
Things were different in the studio. Instead of waiting for Ariadne to visit, he waited for her to come home. Being with Ariadne while she worked was different too. She tapped away at him with mallet and chisel and he could feel it, it wasn’t pain exactly, but it was a diminishment. When she was done, she would stand back and stare at him and occasionally she would smile, but sometimes she would frown, and she would ask him how he felt and he would say ‘different’ and she would nod and go away, and that was the extent of their conversation.
Towards spring he began to feel more vibrant, more aware. When he told her that, she smiled and nodded and her eyes glowed. More often than not she was using a small chisel or an electric sander. That was another new experience. One day she brought in a large mirror and showed him what she had done. He didn’t really need a mirror to see himself, he could sense every particle of himself, but when he looked in the mirror, he saw what she saw and was stunned. That was the first time he had been truly happy all winter.
The next day she started work on a plinth for him and Henry found watching her work even more fascinating than watching her run. She talked with him after work now, though never about the work. Then one day, almost a year after they had first met, she came to the studio with the movers again and they wrapped him up and put him in the back of the truck and took him away to a park.
It was beautiful. It overlooked the ocean but was full of trees and people and there were cars and buildings and everything was new and interesting. Ariadne came by every day and stopped and chatted with him a little, and occasionally a child would stop and talk too, or a drunk. He enjoyed those chats, the laughter of the children, the rambling of the drunks. There were birds too, pigeons and gulls and sparrows and all sorts of others.
The years passed pleasantly for Henry until one day Ariadne came and sat on Henry’s plinth. She said she was very sick and that in a couple of months she would be stuck in a hospital, in constant pain, and so high on drugs that she wouldn’t be able to think anymore, let alone make art. A fate worse than death.
Then she reminded Henry of what he had asked her to do all those years ago and told him that she had a request for him now. He didn’t like it, but he had to do as she asked. He loved her.
No one blamed Henry for Ariadne’s death. They all believed it was an accident, but Henry new differently. For the first time in a long time, he had those old feelings of wrongness, of not belonging. He stared out over the ocean and thought of Ariadne. If he could have cried, he would have, and for the first time he cursed his inability.
In : Fiction
Tags: radiohead remediation "media studies" creep
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