They’d always told him that he had a disability and that it was ok if he failed at something. Whenever he didn’t succeed the first or the umpteenth time, it was never his fault. At first he didn’t mind; it gave him an excuse not to do things he didn’t like. Cleaning his room, washing the dishes: he’d broken a couple of plates on purpose. His sister had thrown him a dirty look when their mom said he wouldn’t have to do it again. Dina knew he was milking it: she even came to his room to punch him that night. She was forced to clean the dishes every night because he “couldn’t”.
But over the years, he came to resent it: when playing marbles with his friends at school they would lose on purpose so he didn’t feel bad. When he said he wanted to learn to play the piano his mother said “Oh honey, it’s absurd.” No it wasn’t. Absurd… yes they’d stopped trying for kinder words. It was frustrating for them. When he expressed interest in drawing lessons, his parents watched him with pity, as if the only expectation he should have was failure and sorrow.
Everybody gave him excuses, everyone felt sorry for him. He would never be anything in life or do anything with it. So they pitied him; except Dina. His sister treated him like an annoying brother. Their parents sometimes punished her for it but she didn’t care. And she never hated him: well except during their teenage years, but that was to be expected. He hated her too. But she demanded piano lessons so he could learn. She took drawing classes so he could come with her paint. She believed he could do anything he wanted. Even if everybody else said it was absurd. So he aimed for absurd. Things everyone expected him to fail he tried.
And he had achieved the impossible. Well obviously not impossible since he’d done it. His paintings were now the subject of a major exhibition and when he sold them most sought prices not even Picasso would have dreamed of. Even if he’d never mentioned it – because she would punch him if he did – Dina was the muse behind most his paintings: the smiling woman playing the gramophone and singing umbrellas out of it, the kid brushing the giant Scottish cow down to the female statue holding all the books together in his latest creation. She was his pillar, his constant support.
Sure over time all those who had given him excuses and looked at him with pity, they’d sought the merest trace of spotlight. They’d always believed in him. He didn’t care for them; even his parents had tried to claim his success for their own. That had hurt. More than he thought it would. On Dina’s behalf. From being the disabled child’s sister, she’d become the genius’s sister. He understood she’d never lived her life for herself. Everything she’d ever done was for him: she hated the piano lessons, the drawing classes. But she’d done it for him. Not because she pitied him but because she was angry at everyone else for making him feel less human than the rest of them.
The hell with her stubbornness. It may be absurd but today he would let everyone know she was the reason a man with his thumbs in the wrong place realized his impossible dream.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s collage writing prompt Bonus