The Artist.

June 3, 2010
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There once was an artist who lived in a town somewhere in England. Her name was Melinda. Her art wasn’t famous or even anything close to it but she didn’t care. Art was her passion and making money from it wasn’t important to her. She worked part time at a diner near her with one of her good friends, Annie.

Melinda lived in an old firehouse. She had picked it because it was so big. It was the only place large enough to fit her many paintings. While she was at home she would relax and paint. Her style was abstract. She would grab a brush, dip it in paint, and see where it took her. The possibilities were endless.

One morning, Melinda got up and carried on with her usual routine. Getting ready for work. She didn’t feel that great but she decided to ignore it. She thought it would just pass. As she was leaving the house she waved to her neighbor across the street and continued walking to work. She started to sweat and her head was feeling a little warm but she didn’t really think about it. It was a bit strange though. She never sweated when she walked to work. She was actually in good shape too. But, she put it out of her mind.

When she got to the diner she headed straight to the back to get her apron. She was feeling a bit light headed and the heat inside the diner wasn’t helping much.

She waved to her friend Annie, who was the chef and the owner of this diner and put on her apron. She started from table one like she always did and began to take people’s orders. By the time she got to table seven she started to get a little dizzy and it was scaring her. She looked over at Annie only to receive a worried look from her. Annie waved her hand for Melinda to come around to the kitchen. So she walked over there.

“What’s wrong, you don’t look so good” Annie said in a worried tone.

“Well, gee thanks” Melinda said trying to speak in a playful tone but it wasn’t working; her voice had become a little raspy and her throat was beginning to ache.

“I’m serious are you okay? It looked like you were about to pass out over there” She said gesturing to where Melinda had been standing earlier.

“I’m fine, don’t worry about it. I just need some water and I’ll be okay.” She said sitting on the stool next to the door. She was getting a headache and wanted to lie down but she knew that wasn’t going to happen so she just poured herself a cold glass of water and drank it.

“See, I’m better already” Melinda said putting on an entirely fake smile. Annie wasn’t fooled of course but she didn’t press it. She just turned around and continued to make the food.

Melinda left the kitchen and went back out to tables. Where had she left off? Oh right, table seven. There was a man sitting there. He had dark hair and nice suit on. He didn’t look like the type to be eating in a diner like this. She walked over to his table.

“What can I get for you sir?” she asked. He smiled at her and said “I’m not here to eat; I came because I wanted to ask the owner something.” He had a nice smile, but his teeth were a little too white. They didn’t look real.

“And that would be…?” She asked getting a little annoyed. If he wasn’t going to order anything he was wasting her time and her headache was getting worse.

“Well, I was wondering who the artist of these paintings is?” He said pointing to the paintings that were all over the walls. Melinda’s paintings, the ones she had given to Annie when she first opened the diner.

“They’re mine” She said, “What about them?” She asked a little curious now.

“Well, a friend of mine came in here the other day and told me about some wonderful paintings he had seen while he was here and suggested I come and see them. You are very talented...Uh...I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.” He said with a shy smile.

“Oh, I’m sorry my names Melinda Allen.” She said extending her arm out to shake his hand. Wow, this hasn’t exactly been the first time people had complimented her artwork but it was the first time someone had come to the diner just to see them. “And thank you” she said giving him a smile but that seemed to make her head hurt a little so it was more of a flinch.

“Well Melinda I’m John Conner and I’m opening a new art exhibit in the museum downtown and I would love for your art to be a part of it” He said casually. She hated these types of people. The ones who treated artwork like just a pretty thing to look at and not anything more.

“Well, Mr. Conner it is nice of you to offer but I’m going to have to decline. I’m sorry.” She said a little harsher than she had intended. She turned around and began to walk back to the kitchen.

“Wait, at least take my card” he said getting a card out of his pocket. Melinda took the card and the man got up to leave.

She headed back to the kitchen. Getting a questioning look from Annie.

“It was just some guy who wanted to buy my art” She said sounding tired. Annie’s eyes got huge and she didn’t say anything. She knew how I felt about those kinds of people, she knew they bothered me.

“It’s okay Ann, but if you don’t mind I think I’m going to go home for today and just get some rest.” She said taking off her apron.

“Yeah, okay. Feel better Mel.” She said with another one of her worried looks.

When she got home she crawled into bed and had the worst nap of my life. She twisted and turned. Feeling even more worse by the second. And her headache had turned into a migraine. She was sweating so much her sheets were turning wet.

She decided to go to the doctor first thing in the morning.

That morning she felt a bit better. Her vision was a bit blurry but the pain in her head had stop.

She felt like she could go to work. So she got ready and went walked to the diner. She worked all day and came back home completely fine.

She was fine the entire next month, thinking about the strange events of that day. Exactly a month later she started to feel sick again. Instead of waiting until things got worse this time she went straight the doctor. After they ran a bunch of tests on her, they started to focus in on her head, scanning it with several different machines.

After they were done they told her to stay overnight at the hospital. She said okay and changed into a hospital gown.

When her doctor came in she asked “can you tell me what’s wrong?”

He looked a little sad, like he didn’t want to give her any bad news. Now she was getting worried.

“Well, Miss Allen I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.” He said with a grim face.

“What?” She asked with a shaky voice.

“We have discovered cancer cells in your brain, and…I’m afraid there is no way of removing them.” He said with an extremely sad face.

Oh my god. Did she hear him right? Did he just say cancer? No. That’s not possible. It couldn’t happen. Not to her.

She didn’t know how long it had been but when she looked out the window it was dark. Had she been asleep? She rang the buzzer that called the nurse.

“Yes?” The nurse asked.

“I would like to speak with the doctor please.” She said feeling sick inside.

The doctor walked in and asked what she needed.

“How long do I have?” Melinda asked.

“What?” He said trying not to in into her eyes.

“How long do I have?” She repeated. “I know how this goes, my mother died from brain cancer.” She felt like she was going to be sick.

He sighed a long sad sigh and said, “Approximately three months”

She knew it. That’s exactly what they had said to her mother all those years ago…”approximately three months…”

She had gone into complete shock and blacked out. Only to wake up the next day feeling so much worse then she had ever felt before.

She was seeing things. Her mother was sitting next to her talking to her. And she was talking back. The nurses came in and stared at her strangely but she didn’t care. She just kept on talking to her mom.

Once a week, the nurse would take her into the art room and let her paint. And she would love it. It was the best part of that week. Over time she couldn’t feel pain anymore. Everything seemed peaceful.

Annie came over once in a while, crying. Melinda didn’t know why. She didn’t look good when she cried. Her face would get red and blotchy. But it scared her too. Annie was strong. She wondered why she was crying. What was wrong?

It was on a dark and stormy day that it happened. Everything seemed to be closing in on her. Her vision was gone. Her hearing was gone. Everything seemed to fade away into a world of darkness. Melinda Allen had passed away.

Melinda had exactly ten paintings that she painted while at the hospital. They were donated to the new art exhibit downtown. The paintings showed her downward spiral, from the beginning of cancer to the end of it. It began with her normal painting style her smooth fluid brush strokes but as time passed the paintings didn’t look the same. The brush strokes weren’t as smooth; the lines were jagged and unfriendly. The last couple of the paintings were like a child’s; they looked like they were finger-painted. This however made these works of art popular. They became famous fast and worth quite a lot of money.

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