Under the awning
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
“The condensation was building on the inside of the roof. The sun had risen earlier than I’d expected and I was worried about the dampness ruining the previous nights work. I had arranged all of my tools, in alphabetical order, on the two wooden folding tablets. They were fake oak tables, which my mother had given to me to make my life more comfortable. They certainly did make my life more comfortable. I no longer had to lay the tools on the floor. I had somewhere to arrange them and keep them safe and clean.
The wind was picking up. It blew the left and right doors in and out. It made me imagine the motions of a young, hot, couple having sex. It was rhythmic but clumsy and passionless. There was no soul.
I was getting cold and the metal on my tools were even colder. I could hardly pick them up to finish the project I had started. I needed to finish it that night. I was on an early shift the morning after and needed to be back before the staff noticed I’d disappeared.
I started cutting and carving, hoping the sound wouldn’t wake the neighbouring occupants and bring attention to my twilight activities. It was difficult keeping it a secret. I couldn’t let anyone know what I was doing. It would most certainly spoil everything. Not just for me, but for my family. I wanted it to be a surprise.
They would never believe, in a million years, it was something I could do on my own or that I was even capable. This whole situation would puzzle them – always. They would never understand, or belief for that matter, that I could do it. Have I said that? Not with my timetable anyway. The hospital kept me pretty busy. I would volunteer late shifts and unsociable hours so that I could buy everything I needed so I was able to fit my other work into my life.
My upbringing could have been better, not that it matters. But we didn’t have much in the way of luxuries. I needed to make sure I didn’t go without. I wanted a better life. That’s why I became a doctor, you know, and my fascination with life. To be responsible for another persons life is the most amazing power. I mean, I knew it was a high paid career and I also knew it would be a career that would help me with my other jobs – my amazing projects. I also knew that it would satisfy all of my desires. I knew quite a lot, didn’t I?
Luckily, within a few hours of the sun rising the dew had subsided and before the neighbours had started stirring. Just in time for me to put the final touches to first of my thirteen projects. I call them projects; but really, they are works of art as far as I am concerned. I have to sculpt, mould, construct and deconstruct – so it is art to me. I have to create complex organic shapes and morph them to adhere to complex shapes and deforming constructions – It’s art – it really is art. It’s difficult. I don’t expect you to understand, you are not like me – that’s clear . . . no one is.
I listened intently, as I always have, as the morning came alive. In silence, I sat on the folded camp chair for hours while the neighbours rose from their nightly slumber. The doors of their dwellings thumped open. It was a strange sensation. It was like the banging of a military drum, exciting all around to the dawning of the impending conflict. I’d been alone all night. I had only the distant sound of nocturnal vehicles to keep me company. The sensation of those nightly souls hovering around my vicinity added to my creative process, its part of the work, it adds to my process.
I chose the dead of night to create my sculptors because the solitude allowed me to concentrate on the finer aspects of the craft. The eye is in the detail. That’s what my mother used to say. It’s true. If I allowed myself to forget the details I wouldn’t be noticed. That would ruin everything. I didn’t want to my art to be displayed until I was ready. That was the part I enjoyed the most. I needed that control over everything. I want you to understand that! I mean; you get to know your art. It’s personal. You feel for it. I did anyway. Ask any other artist like me, they really get into what they are doing, and it becomes part of their soul. Regardless of the their motivation, it consumes them. It’s all they think about. It’s only natural. If you don’t love what you do to your very core, you’re not an artist; you’re not a craftsman, you’re soulless, empty and a downright shell. I mean, how could you not be that close to something and not feel for it?
The only thing that bothered me was everyone finding out and ruining my big surprise. It was strange, weird even. It motivated me to keep going. My mum would say, the more you focussed on the drive the more driven you were. I didn’t get it at first. It only clicked once I’d completed my first piece. She was wonderful. The piece was wonderful, not my mother.
I remember them all. I remember them as if they were ex-girlfriends. But in all honesty the first changed me forever. After her I couldn’t stop the work. It became addictive, almost taking over my medical work. The more I carved and the more I owned my craft, the more it took over me. They spoke to me while I carved. They were alive.
There was, in fact is, no one like me – for sure. I know that, I just need everyone else to know. I need everyone to appreciate that, no matter how many other artists or craftsmen there seems to be, I am the best.
It wasn’t about the quantity; to me it was purely about quality. But I won’t lie to you, I didn’t think of the number in the beginning but the more I did it the more the number thirteen seemed to be the right number to finish on. I can’t tell you why it just resonated. I have said that before haven’t I? No? The number thirteen touched me. Imagine your mum saying to you, for the first time, I love you – not that mine ever has – it just makes you feel a certain way. It’s unexplainable. Did your mum ever tell you she loved you? How does that feel? Wet?
It was the thirteenth that was the most difficult. It was bigger. When I say “IT” I mean her, she of course. I tried to get something new from each piece. I played with getting closer and closer. I tried to love each one differently. That way I could tell the story of each of them and try to convince any stranger to feel the same about them, about my art, as me.
Take my patience for instance, they all have a different story, have lived different lived and I love telling their stories. I love telling the stories of their lives and the stories of their deaths, it makes me feel whole and complete, it feels right. And to have a control of their lives, to have their lives in your hands makes you feel special, alive and settling in their last moments. It’s like playing god – almost. You can’t take that shit lightly – you have to make the most of it. I suppose that’s why it happened, that art I mean. Can I call it art? I just want you to understand that’s all. I want to paint a picture that everyone can understand. I helped them. They are where they should be.
When you save someone’s life, you allow those people to live longer. When you take someone’s life, you give him or her eternal existence. Ever lasting soul. You allow them to live for longer in other people’s memories, people who didn’t even know them. It’s like Jesus, we didn’t know him but god left his image for all of us to remember. God I tell you. I mean, you’re not going to forget their names are you. You are going to sleep every night with their angelic faces burned into your mind. You didn’t even know them and you wouldn’t forget. I have done what I had to. My job is complete – Inspector; my job is done. I have given them eternal life.
They should be thankful. You should be thankful. I have changed everyone’s life forever. I have changed your life.”
“Thank you, Dr McAllister, for your insightful and open confession. Your victims families can now have closure. Can you please read what I have written, then sign here and here.”