Excerpt from “The Painting 2”
Gerald Oliver Delaney secured the safety of his world, the painting, from all. He hid it deep within its own self-contained universe. Yet, even though it was so very far away, he could still hear the hopes and prayers of the humans he had painted.
Over time, Gerald had willed wonderful things to happen within the painting. Miracles and wonderment flowed from him into the universe so all within could be reminded of his love. He still appreciated and felt the joy this magical world gave to him, but time had passed. Gerald had grown up. He had married. He had a son, and he had told his son all about the painting.
His son, Benjamin, had grown up knowing the love of his father. He had felt the approval and acceptance this world never offered to his father. He’d shared in the enchantment and delight of his father’s love for the people of the painting. He’d witnessed the pain and agony of his father’s hearts for them. He’d watched tears fall, heard laughs belted out loudly from the silence of his room and felt his father’s turmoil as he stood by listening to the calls and cries of his people.
His son knew what the painting meant to his father, and he had grown up longing to see this world for himself – but he couldn’t.
He’d asked. He’d pleaded with his father to let him visit it, but his father had refused. At first he was too young. Then he needed to focus on his studies. Finally, it became too dangerous for him. But his son persisted.
As the years passed, his son learned how time worked differently in the painting, that one day in his own world was a year in the painting. That the people had changed over time. Some were good, some were bad. The stories of his father had grown and morphed into something much more supernatural and thrilling.
He also learned that there were many, many people in the painting now who doubted his father’s existence. They didn’t believe he was real and they ridiculed those who did. The painting had become something it was never intended to be – conflicted and hostile.
That was when the son realized he absolutely had to go to the painting. He had to set things straight. He had to teach the children of the painting about his father, about the truth, the real reason it was created. But the pathway to get in was obscure. A door had to be created.
Eventually, the solution came to him.
Before, when someone wanted to visit the painting, all he had to do was walk in. It stood on the ground and the simple step was easy. But now, the painting had been placed into its own universe. The only way new life was brought into the world was by being born. The only way life left the world was when it died. It was a simple, yet painful solution.
He had his father’s love.
He had his will, his desire and his hope.
He too contained the magic within to create, and so he did.
He shared his plan with his father who adamantly protested at first but then relented. He sent word to the people of the painting about his son’s arrival and the news spread across the land.
He hugged his son tightly and shed a tear, knowing very well what he was about to do.
He pleaded one more time for his son to stay. He begged him, but his son persisted. He knew how important it was for the people to know about his father. He was determined to set them straight.
And so, in the hours of darkness, in the quiet of the night, Gerald opened the magic of his heart, willed a gateway into the painting and sent his son through.
With a cry in the night, a distant shrill, Gerald heard his son being born. He wept as he listened into the painting and witnessed the miracle of his son growing up once again to become the man of whom he was so incredibly proud.