Holy Paintings of Women and Other Art

It’s a Sunday afternoon, the dirty walls of my small studio apartment are being turned holy by sunlight, the chipped paint patches sighing as they are soothed into believing they’re beautiful even if they are coming apart, tape glue left overs collecting dust like trophies because loneliness can be blinding I suppose, even the dull curtains seem to enjoy this balmy afternoon, swaying , unashamed in their delight for summer. You don’t have to be pretty to be holy they’re trying to tell me, yawning, stretching, slowly peeling off, revealing things to me as they are. But the mirror on the wall, wears a hurtful smile, you can’t be holy because you are pretty, it’s telling me, you can’t be holy because you wear your hair long just like how your mother likes it, like God can only love you in your locks till your waist and grace on your hips. I’m lying on my stomach on the floor, tresses sticking to my skin on the back and some making it to the floor. At work, my boss asks me if I want to be a designer or married and I’m still wondering about where that question stems from , wondering about his mother and how she must have raised him. An empty pizza box lies next to me, a cigarette butt made to die on it, a piece of paper with poetry on it. “Do you want to be a designer or married? ” Outside, the heat is settling, tree branches are flailing, sun rays are the deepest of golden, the tips of my hair looks like fire in their beam and I feel like I’m in a painting. Probably a painting done by a man, he’d name it “the brave woman”. Because the woman in the painting, oh she left home, travelled thousands of miles away, she chose art even when her mother’s face was disappointed, her father’s heart beat a little faster, added a wrinkle or two on his forehead, to do what she loved, for strength, for skill, to finally, finally find herself in the same seat as the men next to her, and most importantly to fail and to be able to choose again. How brave, how fearless but ” Do you want to be a designer or married?” She probably can’t answer that , because he didn’t paint her a fucking mouth.

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