The sun was trying to force its way through the closed window blinds of his studio, an unavoidable fact of life that put a frown between the painter’s brows. He, formidably, never liked natural light interfering with his work, and explained his aversion by saying that he needn’t know when it was day or night, for his flow of creativity must not be impeded by such mundane factors as the movement of the planet.
“It’s already ten in the morning,” his wife’s voice sounded from the doorway. “You need to eat, dear.”
The painter mumbled something about the nuisance food could be, and continued his feverish attack on the canvas. His aggressive wielding of the brush could’ve very well make the casual observer think him a madman, but the picture on the canvas disagreed. The crisp Scottish Highlands painting presented itself through delicate lines and eerie lights, the most beautiful landscape he had yet to finish.
The paradox of his work, of forceful creativity becoming into the most delicate art, was left unquestioned by those closest to him. The painter was unaware he looked disturbed, maniacal even, at work, and no one dared to point it out, for he had a difficult enough personality even without provocation.
“Dear, it’s time for a break. Shall I bring you a salad?”
“Very well, then. If you please.”
“I’ll bring it right up, dear.”
The door made the slightest click as his wife left, her pace discreet and silent. Time suspended itself yet again, and with the ensuing silence, the painter forgot about his surroundings. Gradually, his muse manifested its presence and carried him away from the realm of mortals.
“Dear, did you bring the olive oil upstairs?” His wife was suddenly by his side. The painter startled with a yelp, and dropped his brush.
“I might’ve done, dear. See if it’s in the usual cupboard?” He avoided the dreaded eye contact by bending down to recover his precious tool. He couldn’t bear the sight of another human presence, especially when he was caught in a creative spell, and eye contact felt most excruciating. Humans musn’t exist anymore, his house, the city; nothing but the picture in his head.
His wife had grown accustomed to his absent-mindedness a long time ago. She didn’t even find it odd anymore, but rather derived some pleasure from the occasional fright she caused him; a small revenge from an otherwise considerate woman, as it were.
Quietly, she went to the cupboard near the door and grabbed the crystal bottle, so unusually precious for holding mere olive oil.
This was another quirk she had gotten used to. Her husband designed and ordered the handmade crystal containers for all their household items, from detergents to condiments. This, too, had become just another habit of his, no use to argue its lack of sense.
Once the door finally closed behind her, the painter breathed calmly once again. He never welcomed intrusions in his studio, his sacred space, but he felt he had to bear with his wife’s comings and goings, if only to avoid upsetting her. She was, after all, excellent at petty revenge.
He closed his eyes and steadied his hand, inhaling a lungful of the heavy air of his studio as if to welcome his muse back. He blinked awake and set out on his artistic attack again.