The Writing Life

…a literary journey

Micro-Fiction: Fool’s Paradise


Welcome! Below is my 298-word story for Monday’s Instagram prompt. This story was inspired by Night Happiness, an oil painting by Leonid Afremov…enjoy.

Night Happiness by Leonid Afremov

Fool’s Paradise

He moved around the room, looking at it from different points. It reminded him of a stained-glass window. The cat mewed, and he saw that it was hours past her dinnertime. He sat on the couch, and the animal curled around his legs, somehow sensing that this was more important.

Reaching down to rub her neck, a prick of guilt hit him for having painted a dog in the scene. There had never been a dog. He had taken liberties, that’s what artists do. If only a world existed where the street and trees and sky exploded in such vibrancy. He studied life for what was not real, and then he turned it sideways onto a canvas. And when he stood in front of it, with his own head turned aslant, it looked real.

What would they have him do, paint a shabby couch, a rug with tattered corners, a stovetop hood caked with grease? Should he remove himself from the argument long enough to capture the girl rooting around in her purse for her keys, angry tears running her mascara into a gothic fright? He told her not to expect an orderly relationship; he did not go out or invite people over. She should keep her friends.

I don’t want to go for a walk,” he told her.

You need to see someone. It’s not normal.”

When she came last week, he thought she would appreciate the neat goodbye piles of her clothes and toiletries on the kitchen table. It had taken him a bit of time to clear the table of paints and newspapers, but she hadn’t noticed.

When at last the colors hurt his eyes, he met the cat’s demands, going into the kitchen and shaking the last of the kibble into her bowl.

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