He was an artist. He knew his teacher – former teacher that was – didn’t think so. In fact he had spent years telling him everything he did wrong. But he knew he was an artist despite what that old goat might say.
And this was his first piece. Finished and perfectly imperfect. His teacher would have hated it. He loved that.
His teacher would have said that it wasn’t art. That it was a toy. And he would be partly right. It was a toy. But why should that mean it couldn’t also be art?
It was a fort. A single piece of wood carved out so it appeared to be several boxes, sticking out from each other. It was splattered with paint – every happy colour he’d been able to think of and with childish paintings. It was in three levels and if you climbed to the top level you’d find the secret treasure: A cave, where you could hide with all your books and secrets, pretending it was a little world of it own.
Many of the boxes were hollow, designed to hold books. His piece of art would contain information and adventures and fairy tales, and that was one of the many things, which in the artist’s eye, made it perfect.
He let his fingers run across it. It was smooth, yet just rough enough that little children feet wouldn’t slip as they struggled their way to the top. The artist could already hear the sounds of his piece. It was silent – of course it was, wood didn’t speak – but still it would be so wonderfully noisy; producing pearls of laughter and barely hidden giggles as the children would hide in the cave; not knowing their parents could very much hear them.
Maybe they would attempt to strangle their treacherous giggles by burying their faces in the pillows placed in the secret cave. They would bite down so hard they’d taste the cotton, and yet it would be so difficult to stay quiet, because mum and dad had no idea where they hid, and for some reason that was hilarious.
The artist bend down and took a careful sniff. Right now his piece smelled like wood and paint, but he knew it would also acquire the smell of the soil the children would paint it with whenever they forgot to take their shoes off, and the slightly sour smell of their feet, when they did remember. It would be marvellous.
His first piece would be perfect, and he had never been so proud. Not only had he created a piece of art, which were so much more than merely pretty. No, you’d be able to feel his piece of art, to smell it, taste it, hear the sounds it produced. He couldn’t keep it clean, but he didn’t want to, because he hadn’t only created a piece of art.
He’d created a toy, and for the child still inside of him, that was so much better.