Short Fiction: Art Connections (Winner, Lee County Aspiring Authors)


Sophia Hidalgo

A man punches in the number to the top floor in an elevator of a skyscraper in New York, the door opens up to a glowing room seemingly lit by lanterns and fireflies with blank walls and hung paintings. He walks in with a slight nervousness and sense of awe at all the brightly lit art pieces, then seeing a piece no one is looking at. He stands in front of it, taking a glass of champagne from a waiter, and looks back at the piece without drinking, in silence, for a minute or so.

His fixed mindset was interrupted by the sound of short heels and the flutter of a dress hem next to him. He looks out the corner of his eye while he drinks some of his champagne, “Oh… It’s a girl,” he thought judging by her small feet and short heels “She’s nervous too.” As a college student studying to be a psychologist, he could tell these things just by the positioning of her feet.

He stops drinking, feeling awkward he looks down at what’s left of the champagne while swirling it in his hand. He overhears the crowd and critics talking about how the artist never draws the eyes or makes direct eye contact with people, “It’s kind of weird how the artist doesn’t draw the eyes.”

Her small voice says, “You think so?”

He harks back his comment, “Well I wouldn’t say weird… More …mysterious.”

She does a curiously reassuring “hmm”, a silence hangs in the air.

“It’s beautiful nonetheless,” the man says to break the awkward silence and tension.

“Thank you.” The short silence afterward gives the man some time for thought and he comes to a realization, quickly looking at the girl, it was the artist, who was still looking at the piece.

“U-uh y-you’re welcome.” She turns her head towards his general direction without making eye contact.

“So… what do you interpret from my art?”

Still trying to collect himself he looks back at the piece. “Simply put ..I’d say it shows the different problems women go through and the thoughts that come with it,” He then looks back at her, “The only thing I can’t figure out is the eyes… Why don’t you draw them?”

A sullen silence leaves the scene at near standstill.

“Who knows,” she slowly looks up at him finally making direct eye contact “Why don’t you tell me?”

Everything other than her glowing eyes start fading out black. The figure, from the art piece they were looking at, starts fading in along with a white background; her eyes in the place where the eyes should be on the figure. He frantically looks around, the gallery is gone, as if he were transported into a white room, he looks back at the figure perplexed.

“Don’t worry about it, more importantly… Your answer?” she says.

“Right..” he crosses his arms taking a pause and sighs; reluctantly he starts trying to analyze the art keeping a sliver of worry in the back of his head. “If I only saw this piece by itself, I would have thought that it was a person that is being puppeteered by their monstrous inner thoughts because they’re too scared to see the world they live in, thus why the eyes aren’t showing.” He gives a pause putting his hand on his chin and slightly rethinking what was said,

“But I saw that none of your art pieces have eyes showing so maybe that last part is wrong.”

With some surprise in her tone, she replied “You have quite the creative mind, that or you’re just knowledgeable in reading people.” With slight concern she asks “What about my piece is telling you this?”

“Well, first off there’s the girl and the monster but I see fine clear strings coming from the fingers of the monster towards the girls head, that tells me that the monster is controlling her thoughts” He says as he points and follows the thin nearly invisible threads.

The figure leans in even more intrigued, “And what about the part about the girl being too scared to see the world she lives in?”

“That was simply because of the eyes being covered but the more I think about it the more confused I am about it…”

He raises his hand up to his chin, perching the arm against the other still crossed, deep in thought. “Another thought I had was, the fact that it could be the girl doesn’t want to be seen.” The man stops with a small and sudden realization, he looks down with his eyes darting side to side in thought. “Seen?…. No..she .. she doesn’t want to be understood.” He looks up at the figure only to see it’s a different art piece with different figures.

The figure gives a seemingly cold stare with furrowed brows in concern and annoyance “Have you realized something?”

“Yes… as a matter of fact,” he starts speaking in a louder reassured tone “I’m convinced that you’re the one that doesn’t want to be understood! All of the different women that you’ve drawn they’re all one person!” the figure flinches in fear and slowly backs away cowardly with shocked eyes. The figure, as if it were a hologram, starts glitching and changing into the other art piece figures. “They are all you! All of these situations have or are happening to you and you’re too scared to ask for help!”

“That’s ridiculous don’t you know you don’t need to understand the artist to understand the art! They’re totally separate!” she says slightly panicked as the glitching gets faster.

He lowers his voice slightly pained “So instead of you asking for help directly…. You’re trying to send out an encrypted message of help out to the public to see who will understand you… you might not need the artist to understand the art… but you can use the art to understand the artist!”

Everything suddenly blacks out and the man snaps out of it, he quickly looks next to him but the girl is gone. As he frantically attempts to look at his surroundings for the girl, an excited commotion with the guests catches his eye.It was the grand reveal of the latest art piece that the artist had made, it was a girl sitting on a railing with her face turned away looking out towards blurred city lights. He gasps in shock nearly just throwing his champagne onto someone else and quickly tries finding the way to the top balcony. He shoves open the door to the balcony out of breath, seeing the woman is still there, he bends over trying to catch his breath while walking closer. “If you were so troubled, why didn’t you go to a therapist?”

The sound of small car horns, a flag pole, and strong winds passes by for a moment in pause. She turns to him in a calm manner, gripping the rails, showing a pained eyes and a regretful smile.

“Well,… I never really did like therapists”, She lets go of the railing making her body go limp and gracefully fall back.The girl hears him yell something out as she falls but it was unintelligible to her and so she closes her eyes in peace.

She’s suddenly jerked and she then gets the feeling she’s hanging; She quickly opens her eyes and looks up to find the guy holding her by the arm while holding onto the railing.

He sees her face of incomprehensibility and hoists her up to safety. With them both on their knees on solid ground he quickly catches his breath and humorously replies,  “Well then, it’s too bad for you. I’m just a psychology student.”