James LePore: Project 52/2015: The Artist

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14814_1801776lImage: Bird on Wire, © James LePore

I watched her.

She hunted. Looking down. Picking up. Putting under her wing. Looking down. Picking up. Putting under her wing. The sun on her yellow head.

Another larger creature like her appeared rubbing a flag in her hands, waving it at her. Her.

The larger creature hung flags on a wire, flags that flapped in the wind, talking to each other. Just these two creatures living on the ground, creatures with wings who could not fly.

The smaller creature—her—turned her head sideways and looked at me with one eye, like a bird. I said something and she looked again.

She knows, I thought, that she is alive, alive and can do anything she wants to do, that she will always be alive, can always do anything she wants to do.

But they forget this, the smaller ones, as they grow larger.

I hid something for her, a sparkler. She found it and put it under her wing. She looked up at me with a changed face. I hid another one. She found it and looked at me again, tilting her head like a bird does.

One day she took all of the things from under her wing, all sparklers, and put them on the ground near the water-in-stone. The ones I had given her, she put off to the side. I went at night and took one of my sparklers back. The next night I took the other one. Then she put two more off to the side. I took these as well. I watched her the next morning as she re-arranged the sparklers a certain way. I could hear her heart beating, the voice inside her, as she knelt on the ground. She looked up at me later in the hot sun. I saw my reflection in her eye. A rare thing, as this can only happen with intention.

She was different. An artist.

That night I arranged her sparklers to leave her a message. You are alive. You can do anything you want to do. You can always do anything you want to do.

I never went back. According to the universal voice, these encounters are the rarest of things, like finding a diamond rather than a piece of glass. I don’t care about diamonds. I do care that I have had an encounter of the rarest kind, an encounter with her.


About Project 52/2015: I like to take pictures and I like to write fiction. This Blog will combine the two in what I am calling Project 52/2015, one of my images mated with a piece of very short fiction each week in 2015. Enjoy.

James LePore is the national bestselling author of numerous novels, most recently, God’s Formula, which he wrote with Carlos Davis. Visit his website.

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