She watched it grow smaller until it eventually disappeared. “Hello,”
she yelled into the void, but there was no echo.
She went back inside and hefted a modestly sized painting that had
been finished for several months. This one was some flowers with a fall
theme—bare branches, a basket of mushrooms. She took the painting
out on the platform. She held it up toward her, as if she were going to
hang it on a wall, then gave it the smallest shove out into the empty space
so it traveled away from her very slowly, into the void. She might have
made three thousand dollars on that painting, but in that moment, it felt
like a small price to pay to hang a piece of her work forever in the gallery
of oblivion. As she watched it slowly fade away, she started crying. She
felt like a mistake in the world, not a person but a gap, a strange interlude or silence, like those moments when you are at a party and for some
reason everyone stops speaking at the same instant.
And then something was just decided in her.
There is no other way to put it. She was just different, like it had been
ordained by something so huge it would be laughable to question. She
knew what she had to do. She went back into her apartment and started
with the paintings. One by one, she threw them into the void. Then the
art books, then her clothes, even the furniture she managed to drag and
shove over the edge, so that in the morning she woke up on her twin
mattress with nothing left but a few items in the bathroom—razors to
remove her body hair, a bright red lipstick, powder for her face. She was
tingling all over. She couldn’t stop smiling. The air around her was electric but also silent. She had a little vision then. She imagined two strokes
Sometimes it felt like she was made of a material to
which nothing could stick. She was never too happy
or too unhappy. She was like the vases of flowers she
painted, colored as they were born to be colored. If
they were lit in a beautiful way, it was by a sun millions of miles distant.