Memoirs of the Artist: II - A Shared Promise

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 14, 2016

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Submitted: May 14, 2016

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Countless millions of lives were recorded in the sights of the land of the free. He grew up under spacious skies, in amber waves of grain, in purple mountain majesties, from sea to shining sea. From the free land with a promising national anthem: he believes of God who mends every flaw, of patriot dreams, of alabaster cities gleam and undimmed by human tears. This is his motherland.

Three years ago, it was where the promise happened. Everything before that is another story. The adolescent revisited his kingdom after ten years of battles and trials, where his guardian greeted and took him into the land in person. Guided by the sunbursts, moonlight and stars, even though the kingdom was modernized and yet still renovating for a powerful stronghold against its enemies, he found it familiar. The bridge was still golden; he smudged against the iron and found that the gold was repainted again repeatedly over the past few years while he was gone.

He remembers bits and pieces during the trials and battles; maybe it was not that important. There are shattered and incomplete fragments of his memories though: he remembers the first day when he rode on a Trojan horse a decade ago and ventured to the desert’s sands of time. He remembers the hardness adapting to a new environment that did not feel like home. He remembers his first defeat in the enemy’s territory, the defeat that almost costed him his soul: his artistic gifts. Failing once made him swear to himself that he would not fail again.

Eighteen years of unending combats, the youngster must choose a vocation if he wanted to leave a mark on the walls. This was the reason why he came back to the kingdom victoriously, to prove the trials helped, to complete quests after quests, missions after missions. With his poor physique, being a knight was out of the picture. He did not want to be a knight though; that vocation was too gory for him. There are way too many blood-thirsts out there anyway, he thought. Looking down at his little scarlet gem hanging on his chest, he knew in his heart that a physician would suit him best, a paragon of virtue: those, who cure the poisoned, heal the wounded and restore the disillusioned. During his trials, he was incapable to handle alchemy properly, and disenchantment was all that was left. With the dutiful heart but without the specialized mind, it had always been the common tragedy among this kingdom.

A delicate artist he must be. The artists are the ones who dig deep in the souls and surge powerful artistic energies that illuminates one’s imagination and motivation. But again, this resides in the dreadful sinister arts that one must not practice continuously, or one would risk to be possessed instead of controlling it. They can also surge negative energies all around that may cause massive destruction: and the deadliest part is that the artist would not even know that he was beyond control. For thousands of years, many artists have caused catastrophic damage to their kingdoms, and by the time they realize, everything was too late. And out of one’s guilty scruples, or the devil’s final call, they end and immolate themselves in conflagration. That is why every artist should have a constant and mend them back to equilibrium. Most artists without a constant were doomed to fail.

So the boy was then an artist. Throughout his first assigned task, he met a Trojan, a person of courageous determination for dreams and visions. They are seers, visionaries, but the difference is that Trojans are not dreamers but doers. They usually act alone, for everyone’s visions are different in life. This Trojan is just like any other. The Trojan and the artist are different in nature, as if they are from two different worlds. For the artist, the first few tasks were absolutely unchallenging, almost a waste of time. Imagination and creativity were the artist’s strengths; composing lyrical opuses, musical creation and illustration on scrolls were unproblematic. It was sincere and he did not brag about it, for he knew everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses; it just happens that this was his advantage. Three times, he volunteered to help. Three times, the Trojan rejected him. At that time, the artist did not understand why he would refuse, and it was quite disheartening.

 

The zealous artist’s efforts did not go to waste, not entirely. The Trojan came for a visit one night. He brought carrots and vegetables and ranch and made a Caesar salad bowl, for he remembered that the artist once mentioned how much he loved that particular kind of salad. Gladness rushed through the artist’s veins, and in his mind, he pictured how improbable it was for a seemingly apathetic and unsympathetic man to show compassion, and tried he did. The artist believed that everything can be changed, rules can be broken, and Trojans can be sensitive as well. And since that night, the artist treated the Trojan as his constant.

Nothing much changed since, for the Trojan still denied the artist’s assistance in chirography and paintings, which he continued to do poorly. But he cared less; a Trojan, a doer and as his vocation, he might not have talent in the arts, but he had the determination to complete tasks on his own and prove his worth. His commitment lied with engineering since years ago, as he must fulfill his father’s expectations. He saw things differently compared to the artist; it was not about perfectionism, it was not about the magnificence or grandeur echelon: it was just as simple as getting a dream fulfilled, whether it was his or his father’s.

As the time passed by, the tasks at hand became heavier, and strenuous efforts must be made to keep up with others to maintain in the harsh system. Naturally, the artist finished his major tasks and met a few friends along the way, and the Trojan had his own plans while struggling with the workload. Excited about a reunion with a few brothers he befriended back in the days of trials, the artist made his way to the east, the city of Liberty. The artist was especially thrilled to meet the Preserver and the boy who calls the time and tide; the three together were the former triumvirs of the Coast after all, and the title played a pivotal part in their lives. It was their bloom of youth. The artist was disappointed when the boy who calls the time and tide did not show up, though it was anticipated. The boy, like the artist’s new friend Trojan, had duties to fulfill. And the artist thought about them during the downtimes between the unending, hectic moments. But deep in his heart, he knew it was not the lifestyle he yearned for.

The short expedition of the wild ended, and they parted their ways. The Trojan waited for him impatiently, and he brought the artist to his masterpiece: a vehicle. The artist pictured it as one of the legendary Trojan horses from the Rome Empire in his mind. Trumpets triumphing, echoing through the golden waves of sands in the desert; winds propelling cyclones, lapsing through the sands like gusts. And the Trojan charger would course through the desert like a heroic, gallant stallion, galloping his master and the artist to whatever destination. But then, the artist jerked his head against something incredibly rigid; he felt the world was falling apart, everything was twisting in distortion. The sirens were screeching so loudly the artist thought that he was deafened. Thousands of images flashed through his mind in a matter of seconds: the stallion collapsed and threw them off brutally and they were swirling into the quicksand…

The vehicle flipped several times. Glasses shattered, lights crushed, the upturned Trojan struggling, and fortunately, the flimsy artist barely had scratches. The Trojan did not realize the blood wounds on his hands; all he cared about was his work, which was now wreckage. He was astonished with a careworn face, unable to accept the fact that his masterpiece was already broken before it had a chance to roam. Ruby marbles bled out from the corner of his head and arms as he kneeled on the sandy floor, his bushed eyes staring into the darkness. The artist did not know what to do or what to say; he was also feeling the grief of losing something precious, as if the vehicle was also a part of him. The artist was an expert in drawing and painting arts, yet none of these skills helped. The artist was still confused, but finally a feeling stirred from within, a moment of revelation, a true sight; his scarlet core gleamed, and he said, “Oh God… we almost died there…” and he sat beside the Trojan, his hands covering his face, and his head dipped down to the ground. “But we didn’t… do you know what that means?” The Trojan was unresponsive; he was helplessly sucked into a hole of despair. The artist lifted his head, still feeling a bit nauseous, yet his mind was focused. “We can build a better one; I mean, I have plenty of time on my hands and, I would love to help. Now you can teach me.” The artist forced a short yet convincing laugh. Without a response, he quickly continued and alleged, “You wanted to witness its fruition, but it wasn’t ready, not yet. But this time it will. This was once your mission, or your father’s, doesn’t matter. Come on, let’s build it. It is my dream to travel. We can travel across this kingdom. Henry!”

A failure caused a tragedy, a tragedy stirred up sentimental feelings, and the feelings turned into words. Words developed a motivation, and the motivation ingrained a promise between the artist and his constant, his companion.

The artist was not sure if this was what his friend wanted or not. After all, asking a seemingly indifferent person to share a dream with another individual was a lot to ask. Still, it was worth a try, a deeper connection they both sought subconsciously. The artist shared his art, and his friend shared his craftsmanship with him as a certified artisan. His friend continued not to let the artist contribute to his failing artwork, and the artist continued trying.

A month passed, and after doubling efforts to complete his grand distemper as the final work of art, the artist was rewarded with a cache for his graduation. The cache was an emblem, a symbolic representation of becoming a true artist, where he does not need to follow instructions any longer, where he does not need to complete missions given to him anymore. His training was complete. He peered over to the other middling artists as they got paintbrushes and paint buckets and scrolls of superior quality. The artist opened his cache and he was confused. It held nothing. Without his constant around, the artist surged his inner wrath and stormed towards his mentor. His mentor then responded calmly, “You told me before that your greatest regret was not able to become a physician. Well, say you are a physician who pursues the best armamentariums and not the skills of remedial therapies, what is the difference between you and the rest of the people in this world? Do not allow the tools define you.”

The aura of the mentor alleviated the artist’s temperament. He still had lots to learn even though his preparation towards the outside world was complete. And so the artist left the exhibition with more food for thought. He walked to the Trojan halls to witness his friend’s achievement. As a true Trojan, he was now a riding equestrian who possessed his own stallion. The artist felt happier seeing his friend complete his final task rather than rejoicing his own accomplishment. While his friend was celebrating with the other fellow Trojans, the artist decided to leave quietly. His lips moved as he whispered inaudibly to himself so that no one would hear him.

It was Christmas; everywhere was snow, white snow. Christmas carols echoed all around the kingdom, a kingdom full of lights and ornaments, little children running and playing around along the shiny pavements, snow constantly descending on their hats and scarves, coats and mittens, pants and boots. The artist, dressed up in white, threw a scarf around his neck, an empty gray sack slung on his back; scrapped drawings of his final works and old paintbrushes tightly clutched in his shivering hands. He knew he had to leave before it was too late. The final trials were over; it was time for the artists to bid their farewells, to their mentors, to their constants. It was a harsh moment for the artist, and a vacuity of sentiments filled him blankly. Most would be yearning to leave; some were optimistic of their future. But the reality is, most of them did not have a constant, and so they could come and go easily without leaving a trace.

Traveling through the endless snowy night, there was not a path that the artist could trace but only the single trail that he left behind. His prints would soon fade away, and he would be lost in the middle of nowhere. Then someday, he would lose himself in desolation. Someday, he would drift like a cloud and go where the wind would bring him so. Maybe he just needed some time on his own, think things through and come what may. It was time to start all over, from everything to nothing; the beginning of another lonely journey…

“Hey!” a voice shouted from far, far behind. The artist turned and saw the trail of footprints he left in a hurry, from the fresh footprints to the distant ones in a straight line, where he saw his friend from a great distance, running to approach him. Soon, his prints were accompanied by a pair of larger footprints. “I didn’t see you at the exhibition, but someone said you left.” Panting, his friend handed a wrapped gift over. The artist looked at the gift with curiosity. He clumsily put away his drawing kits and tools, untied the red ribbons and unwrapped the present from the green gift paper. He stood there motionlessly, unable to respond. In just a few moments, snow descended on the gift. The artist’s eyes were hazy and he looked at his friend with a surprised expression: it was a box of white chocolates.

“I did it; my best work so far, and with the tools, I will definitely drive better and better, till the day I can bring out the best in me. Till that day, we can cruise around from state to state, back to where we started.” He paused to catch a moment of breath. “Well… Merry Christmas dude, you know, I am not good with words, so thanks, for your support. I do remember that dark chocolate gets you a nosebleed though; so, I hope white chocolate works for you?”

Once again, the artist’s hidden scarlet core illuminated with radiance, his eyes glimmered in disbelief. He did not prepare a gift for the Trojan, his constant companion; instead he tried leaving without a proper goodbye. He had been running his whole life, always leaving in a hurry, because if he stayed, he would be allowing himself to get hurt. Forced to face the sparkles of humanity behind the mask, he was speechless, touched and melted to the core where the artist could not control the flow of emotions. Anticipating the unfamiliar forthcoming gestures of his constant, he threw his arms around his friend and sobbed on his shoulder, as if the sands of time have stopped running in the hourglass. “I’m sorry… I’m just absolutely terrible at this.” The Trojan hugged him firmly and whispered, “I know. I know you.” For once, his friend lost his usual masculinity that moment. The two went back to together and were last seen sharing the box of white chocolate in an extraordinarily, snowy Christmas.

Everyone has their own treasured moments. It could be love, it could be a dream coming true, or it could be as simple as a short story about friendship. Having a dream and managing to carry it out in the end is undeniably an incredible, special moment. But what happens afterwards? No one would be able to share the corresponding amount of contentment and fruitfulness, which would cause one to feel the desolation lingering deep within. Everyone is inimitable in a way after all; and this makes one different from others. They have resemblances, but never the same. Nonetheless, having a shared dream, a shared promise is another story. The actual dream might not happen anytime soon, or ever, but it is the mutual promise one would undertake for the other that counts. Without that friend, the artist would still accomplish his task. Without that friend, the artist would still graduate. But without that friend, the artist would still be struggling with inspiration, motivation and emptiness. Partly of who the artist is today, was a reflection of his constant. No matter what the artist would become in the future, this stage of life belonged to the both of them, and nothing could replace this chronicle.


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