Self-Portrait

He painted in little knots and abbreviated strokes, just as he had lived his life. The cheekbones still showed too much vigour, and he attempted to press them down to match his own. Gaunt, not lively.

He painted his years of abuse, some of it by other hands, much of it by his own, inside the eyes and under them. It saddened him when it came to painting the hair on his eyebrows and he had to use a lot more grey than he had expected. Between the eyes and the brows, he painted the hate and derision that his children held for him

In his lips, he painted his love for so many, never understood by his closer ones. In the distance between them, he painted the dread he felt everyday, a fear of waking up again tomorrow.

And in his jowls, he painted the rattle he heard constantly. The thing that made him spring from the bed in the morning, just to let it know that it might be there, but he was damned if it was going to take him over.

In his throat, he painted the guilt. The knowledge that he was the only one responsible for all that he had caused to himself. Watching himself in the mirror, he swallowed consciously, and he felt it all well up. But then he looked away and painted, and for a few moments, it was the painted face that was the criminal, not the face in the mirror.