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She only sat. Nothing else. She looked at her canvas. It sat bare, naked. It mocked her. It was a little disturbing, for she was not naked. The immodest canvas should be embarrassed. The painter looked around her studio. It was so cluttered; art supplies strewn across counters and thrown into drawers with reckless abandon. Despite the mess, the woman felt incredibly safe. She looked at the clock. 4:30 A.M. The strangest things happened at four in the morning. She should probably sleep.
She took one last look at the raw canvas and turned around. He was there again. A sigh. The woman wasn’t afraid of him anymore. And although she didn’t know who he was, she was quite sure that she wouldn’t be harmed.
His first words: Your painting, if you can even call it that, needs a little something.
She stared at him as he taunted her. Her first words: This is the product of a painter that lacks inspiration.
His reply: When are you going to realize you are not a painter?
Her reply: When people stop buying my paintings.
But it was useless. The nameless, faceless man had disappeared.
Unannounced to the painter, this man was God. The real God. Of course she had asked him countless times before about his identity, but he couldn’t reveal the one piece of information that separated him from every other being. If she knew, it’d cause problems on top of problems. She might tell a friend about her experiences and then everyone would think she’s schizophrenic. Then whenever her name was mentioned, everyone would look down, shake their head and think: What a shame. She had such wonderful potential.
No, he wouldn’t reveal himself to the painter, for he was just passing through. This painting kick was, in fact, diminishing her extreme potential. God knew what the future held for the woman. He knew that it was undesirable. If she kept painting, her life would be harder. God wanted a better life for the woman, but if he couldn’t explain it to himself, how could he explain it to her?
Her thoughts as she looked up at her cottage cheese ceiling at 5 o’clock in the morning: I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy.
And she was right. She was completely sane.
Her mind raced around her mysterious intruder: Who is he? Why is he here? Why does he want me to stop painting?
The woman clasped her hands. She prayed: Dear God, hi. Um. I know is been a while, but I really don’t understand. I just need some help wrapping my head around this. I just need a sign or something. Tell me what I need to do. Please. Um. I think that’s all. Thank you for listening. I appreciate it. I hope you had a nice day. Amen.
The painter got no signs or answers. God, himself, had been showing up in her studio. He tried to relate to her. She didn’t get the hint. What else was there?
She splattered paint on the canvas. She breathed a sigh of relief. She was moving on, turning a corner. The painter knew she was meant for painting. She was good at it. That man didn’t bother her anymore. Besides, she had made her choice; she was in control of her life. The woman didn’t pray again. There was no one to pray to.
God felt an ache; as if his heart had physically moved to the right. She hadn’t heeded his warning. Anger to sadness to longing back to anger. Insolent girl! She will regret this. This life is one she will hate.
The woman’s revelation was one she couldn’t stop thinking about. It churned constantly inside her mind. She had seized control and put God aside, burying her entire childhood with him. Catholic girls don’t resist God. The woman shook her head and divorced herself from religion. Atheist. She swished it around her mouth; tasted it. Bittersweet. The phone rings: Her agent. He instructed her to paint. She was to have a show soon.
God was concocting a plan. Vengeful. Angry. God thought about the woman. God thought about H*ll. God smiled.
The painter painted. 14 pieces later, she was ready. Another show, another opportunity for success. The painter smiled.
God put a man at her show. God made sure that they met. God made sure that the painter took the man to her house. God looked down at the glorious event and smiled with all of his teeth.
As to be expected, the woman brought the man home. She needed some fun. She believed they had connected. They hadn’t. The pleasant looking stranger had an ulterior motive. He looked at her with a certain thirst, as if she was a tall, cool glass of water and he had been stranded in the desert. This man was a predator. The man knew that. God knew that. The painter remained unaware.
They arrived at her loft. Few words were exchanged, for he only stared at her. She second guessed her decision. God watched, practically falling off of his front row seat.
Her thoughts: What is his last name again?
The man walked towards the nervous woman. She walked backwards. He ran; pinned her on the ground. He was too strong. She couldn’t get out from under him. His actions were animalistic. He bit her, scratched her, hit her. She was bruising quickly. She cried. He slapped her for every tear shed. She stopped crying.
During a moment of fatigue, she extricated herself from her hulking predator. She ran up the stairs. He caught his latest conquest and threw her over the balcony. He walked leisurely towards her. She watched him and her pooling blood. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t feel her limbs. He stood over her, watching her scared face with no emotion. He preyed on her. And when he was satisfied, he left. He walked to the door and looked back once. She recognized that face. The man who told her to stop painting. God locked the door on his way out.