A Work of Art        
                              

      One day an artist who was exploring nature, stumbled
across a rock, a rough piece with jagged edges and sharp
corners.  In this unrefined granite, he saw a wild and natural
beauty, so he took it home to create art.

      For days and weeks and months, he gradually carved
his anger, engraved his passion and imprinted his love. He
chiseled his pain, shaped his fear and grooved his hope.
Finally the rock morphed into a naked man sitting on a
pedestal.

      Every time the capricious artist touched the statuette,
he infused a mélange of emotions into the vague image of
himself. And when he gazed at his own creation, his art
invoked a fresh blend of sentiments he’d not yet bestowed
upon his subject. As many times as the artist strived to
reshape the statue, his artwork transformed into a being
even more exotic than before, thus less recognizable by his
creator.   

      The emaciated man with cadaverous eyes slouched on
a pedestal was nothing but a plague lurking in his own dust
in the eyes of his maker. He was tossed on the ground and
cursed by his creator, yet he never broke. His appalling
silence further enraged the artist.   

      The deranged sculptor once grabbed the hammer to
crush the jinx yet he didn’t have the heart to break himself
into pieces. One day he took the doomed object to a bazaar
and secretly deserted his artwork on the counter of a store
packed with replica figurines and hastily fled his crime
scene with a heart filled with sorrow.

      A few hours later, a woman who was standing a few
steps ahead of her husband noticed the statue and
screamed, “Look! This one is not fake, a genuine piece of
art.” She picked it out from the pile of replicas, paid the
same price for it and took it home despite her husband’s
protest.  In their house the statue sat on the shelf in peace
for only a few days. Every time the couple quarreled, the
little statue became a topic in their array of arguments. The
husband was not fond of the new addition and had no
regard for his wife’s adulation for art.

      The more she showed her affection for the naked man,
the more her husband despised the carved stone and
cursed its inept creator. And the more he detested the
statue, the more she grew fond of him. Soon the statuette
became the centerpiece of their constant bickering. Once in
the middle of a heated dispute, she grabbed the effigy and
before her husband’s bewildered eyes rubbed it all over her
body and moaned, “He’s more of a man than you’ve ever
been!”  The hatred in her husband’s eyes signaled the end
of his sojourn in their house.  

      Later that night in the course of a new argument, once
again the statue came under attack. The raving husband
suddenly stormed the artwork to smash it into pieces and
the wife snatched her beloved art just in time to prevent the
tragedy. When the enraged husband viciously attacked his
wife, she crushed his head with the statue clutched in her
fist. The husband collapsed before her feet. Blood gushed
all over the floor. The wife was as petrified as the stone in
her hand when police arrived. She was taken away and the
statue confiscated as a murder weapon.

For a long time the silent statue was paraded in courtrooms
before the anxious eyes of a vast audience and members of
the jury during her trial. When she was eventually
sentenced to life in prison, the statue was condemned to sit
on the shelf along with other murder weapons in a dark
room in the central police station. The thinker co-habited
with daggers, chains, clubs and shotguns for years until he
was finally auctioned off for petty change.

      Then he was repeatedly sold in garage sales and flea
markets and lived in different homes. At times, he was
thrown at stray dogs and hit the nails on the head. Among
other services he rendered, he served as a book holder, a
paperweight, and a doorstop.  Until one day a man tripped
over this amorphous object and fell. He furiously picked up
the carved stone and threw it out the window cursing it
under his breath.

      The statue hit the ground and shattered. His entire
body scattered on the pavement and his head landed
under a bush. His nose broke, his lips chipped and his chin
scarred. His face cracked, his neck fractured, and his ears
marred. He was not recognizable anymore. Once again he’d
turned into what he was before, a crude piece of rock with
rough edges and sharp corners. He remained there until a
torrential rain swept him off into a creek and he traveled a
long distance by the water.

      One day, two children found him on the river’s bank.
The little boy used him to draw pictures on the ground. The
damaged rock managed to draw a horse and a bicycle on
the sidewalk for the boy before he was completely
deformed. His eyes were filled with dirt and his ears all worn
off.

      The boy tossed the rock on the ground and the little
girl picked it up. In this little rock, she saw a face and took it
home.  She washed his hair, removed the dirt from his eyes
and wiped the scars off his face with her gentle touch. At
the dinner table, she placed him next to her plate, caressed
his face and kissed him on the cheek. Her mother noticed
the rock and her daughter’s affection toward it.

      “Are you collecting rocks sweetie?“ she asked.

      “No, mommy,” the little girl replied, “this is a face. See!”

She showed the blemished statue head to her parents.
They exchanged a puzzled look and smiled.

      From that day on, he stayed on the desk by the lamp in
her room. His face shone by the nightlight at bedtime when
she told him the events of her day. The statue remained
her soul mate for years to come. With him she shared all
her dreams, her secrets and her hopes. And only once the
ruined piece of art shared his life story and she pledged to
write his tale.