Anonymity can be many things; cold and dark like the water running through the sewer systems of a decaying metroplex or warm and full of life like a mountain spring trickling down a meadow accompanied by the ambience of avionic chirping. Circumstance and relativity seem to define anonymity as either good or bad, to contrast it as contentment or sorrowful. The older I get, the more I think it’s very much in the eye of the beholder as most everything seems to be…
Higgs lifted up his notebook and looked out of his apartment window to the children playing on the basketball court; he was transfixed as they ran into each other and knocked each other down with little regard for anything but the game they were playing. He looked on with joy as he watched the somewhat organized chaos, his mind smiling between his ears.
In the only bedroom in Higgs’ small tidy apartment there were hundreds of paintings, all of them with a very telltale Higgs Boson signature. The paintings varied widely in style. From the most representational still life and landscape imagery to the most abstract styles, Higgs had endeavored to master all of the greats. His heroes were represented in force and from Davinci to Pollack and in his work you could find a painting that represented each of their profound influence on Higgs.
One painting stood out; it was unique and very much stood apart from the other paintings. This painting was of Higgs Boson’s mind alone, somehow vacant of the influence of his idols and yet an equal combination of their styles and talents. It was on a modest piece of 24″x24″ canvas and sat on Higgs’ desk in the center of the room with the lamp shining directly on it. It had sat in this way for 4 years, 7 months and 18 days, and every day Higgs had applied some paint to it, save for one day in January where his apartment building had been fumigated and Higgs was forced to spend the night in a hotel.
Higgs moved up to the painting and stared at it for a long time without moving. The gaze of his stare was out of focus and moved through it; he tried to feel the image’s mass with his soul. After some doubt and deliberation, he pulled out his red acrylic paint and found his 000 sized paint brush. He spent a few hours adding some very specific lines to give depth to a singular apple beneath a tree.
Looking up and around the room he set his brush down and sighed. His eyes closed for a few minutes. Claire de Lune by Debussey played in his mind’s ear. Without opening his eyes, he found the right corner of his painting and applied his definitive scrawl to the painting. His body went limp as it seemed to recognize that he had completed his painting. There he sat, with the sour note of completion an anchor tethered to his waist.
It was a long hour that Higgs sat, and when he finally stood, it was with slow motions that he made his way to the fridge. Inside lay some chicken salad that he had made last evening. He made a sandwich and returned to the window where the children were playing basketball. The sandwich had no taste; last night the celery seed and dry mustard had danced on his tongue, but now it had no notes of inspiration and stuck in his mouth like wall spackle. There was a knowing pit of despair in his stomach for he knew he had lost something.
Setting the sandwich down, he lifted a glass of milk to his mouth and drank it fully. As a boy on the basketball court beneath dunked the ball in amazing fashion a series of hoots and hollers could be heard emanating from the playground below. Higgs Boson stood and laughed with a moustache of milk above his upper lip.
Sitting back down, he opened his notebook and scrawled beneath an earlier passage.
Perhaps we don’t lose our innocence, our idealism and youth. It may be that we give it, willingly or not, to those who truly need it.
Higgs Boson walked up a ladder in the center of his living room and threw a rope around a beam. As he fastened the noose around his neck he did not feel sorrow or pain, nor joy or relief, he simply felt dutiful and proud. A ray of sunshine filled the room as he dropped, the last thing Higgs saw was a light in his eyes.