The tree

He rubbed the back of his neck which was hurt from looking down for the past two hours. He ignored it. What was the use of caring? The streets were wet from the rain that had been pouring on and off for the past three days. Muddy, crumpled, trampled leaves stuck to the gutter and made a squishing sound when his new, albeit rain soaked shoes scuffled across them. Nobody wanted his work. He thought his creations that he worked on full-heartedly for the past 12 months were the best he had ever done. Feeling so confident in his work and the possibility of getting hired after being out of work, on his own for so long, he purchased the most expensive pair of shoes he had ever bought in his life. They were deep blue suede with a simple, yet sophisticated etched trim around the laces. Even the plastic on the aglets reflected his smile when he bought them. Now the lace-like design of the trims was ruined with mud and disappointment.

His legs burned from the extensive, pointless walk, because artists don’t get out much. He didn’t know where he was or where he was going, because he hadn’t looked up since he began his stroll. He wanted to go back to the time when painting was fun, when he wanted to pick up a brush. He wanted to go back to the time when he could paint endlessly, and money wasn’t a problem. He wanted to go back to the time when his paint brushes didn’t leave bristles all over his work. They were so old and used, that they were falling apart, they were dying.

Suddenly his shoes clipped a piece of the sidewalk that was jutting out. He stumbled forward and caught himself with his hands that were still stained with crimson oil paint. He couldn’t see much of what was in front of him as he stood up, because it was a pitch black night, and the moon was covered in a blanket of angry looking clouds. He strained his eyes to see what lied ahead of him. It was a dead end; he had to turn back around. He threw his hands up and pulled at his hair as he let out the loudest scream he could manage. He sprinted towards the dead end, as his screams began to crack as he began to cry. He felt like he was falling apart from the inside, like the bristles of his brushes. He dropped to his knees and continued to shake and sob uncontrollably. He put his scratched, stained hands to his eyes, and sank even lower to the ground. Everything was over.

He felt like a tree. He grew with every praise of his work ever since he was a child. He became a great big oak, with a strong foundation of effort he put into his work. Then one by one, his limbs were sawed off by the chainsaws of critics who just wanted to tear him down. They cut him down, piece by piece, until all that was left was his effort. Now, he had to grow all over again. He couldn’t even make a sound as he silently shook with tears.

Although his vision was greatly blurred, he caught the glimpse of something incredibly bright out of the corner of his eye. He used his jacket sleeve to clear his eyes. For the first time since his rejection, he looked up. Another spark of light hit the ground. He whipped his head around, looking for the source of this strange phenomenon. Suddenly, the drops of light began raining down even faster. It was like hundreds of little flames were raining from the sky, and bouncing off of the wet streets. The reflections of these light drops shone on the streets, creating a scene in which it seemed like light not only rained down from the sky, but also appeared to rain from the ground towards the sky. These glowing white rain drops created light pockets around them, making the sky several shades lighter and bluer wherever they fell.

He reached his hands out, palms upwards towards the sky, and allowed the sparkling drops to touch his skin. They felt like regular rain drops, but they made his skin glow for just a second after they fell on him, and sank into his skin. His jaw dropped and he began to laugh. The lights reflected off of his watery eyes as he began to cry again. This time, they were tears of joy and awe. He laughed even louder and the smile on his face never faded, not even the slightest bit. He reached his arms out and let his head hang back, as light poured down from the sky around him.

The sky seemed to pulsate in areas around him. Bursts of turquoise and light maroon spread and faded like the beat of drum. The pulse became faster and the fading of colors began to stop. The sky was patchy with shades of yellow orange, gold, and lime green. The colors became more visible with the drops of light growing faster. The sky quickly became a painting and dripped with colors that lit up his face. His forehead became wrinkled, as he smiled bigger than he ever had before. He spun around, danced, and grabbed the drops of light. They were like the stars that were concealed by clouds and city lights, the ones he had never seen before, except he could grab these stars.

Then he quickly realized the great opportunity that was before him. He kicked off his new, yet destroyed, shoes, and ran back the other way down the street. He didn’t know where he was going, but he had to get home quickly. He must paint it. This is the water that would seep into his roots and make him grow.

Word count: 983


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