It skulked in the Oxfam window,
but nobody wanted to give their hard earned shillings
for a metre-square nightmare of
thickly slicked acrylic in eerie blue with
gloopy blood red paint glistening down the canvas,
as if it had dripped from a freshly slit wrist.
After two weeks we had to concede defeat. The only comments we’d received were negative, and most of them included a remark about
the single window
beneath the eaves.
Folks shivered and said it was ghostly, they felt
something evil hid just beyond visibility; something they wouldn’t want to live with.
We were discussing whether we could recycle it,
or if it would be more realistic to put it in the skip.
Taking pity on the poor picture,
I gave a donation and picked it up
to take it home with the idea of getting creative.
I would embroider patches of fabric
and transform it into a beautiful thing.
Inspiration was stirring within
as I took the six minute walk to where I live.
When I was nearly there a man appeared behind me.
I turned to hear him extol the virtues of the painting.
he said it would look amazing in his place
and wanted to know if I was the artist. I said I wasn’t,
then explined that we couldn’t sell it in Oxfam
He eagerly offered the full asking price, and
right there in the street he pulled out his cash.
I crushed my wish to transform the picture.
He thrust the money into my hand.
I relinquished the canvas.
We chatted for a few minutes,
and when we parted we were both smiling,
each of us happier than we had been before we met,
each of us believing we had got the better deal.
Tomorrow I will relate my tale to the manager before putting the spoils in Oxfam’s till.
somewhere in the world,
someone’s life will be improved
because I wanted to remodel an ugly piece of art,
and the right man happened to
walk past me at just the
©Jane Paterson Basil