Inspector Arnould entered the flat, and he had to cover his nose with the hand because of the unbearable stench.
- Revolting, right? – said Gérard, one of the polices who were examining the room. – We have just taken away the corpse. It seems that he has been dead for about 4 days. The neighbors called the police when they worried about the smell.
- What do we know about him? – asked Arnould.
- His name was Michel Duplessis. We haven’t found any relative or friend. He was a painter.
It was evident that he was a painter. The tiny, wretched room was full of canvases and paintings. In almost every one appeared a girl, the same in all the pictures. One of these was on a table. Arnould observed it. It was a portrait of the same person. When the inspector left it again in the table, he noticed something: There was a letter hidden on the other side of the canvas. He read it:
“My name is Michel Duplessis, and this is my story. I first met her three years ago. One night, I had a dream, in which the beauty itself turned a person. That was her. Since then, I couldn’t take her out of my mind. I couldn’t paint anything that wasn’t an attempt to capture her in a canvas.
But then, I achieved it: I was able to pour my dream into the painting, to make her to become a real image, rather than one in my mind. This was even worst. Now that she was a step closer to be real, I was a step further of reality. I realized I had fallen in love with the illusion I had created.
So I made a decision: I had been able to make her closer to me by painting her, so if I wanted to be beside my dream, I had to paint me in the same canvas that her. To be in the same world. To be together.
I began at the moment I had the idea. And it worked. As the picture was being drawn, I felt closer to her. But I also felt tired, like if I had less and less energy. Day after day, getting up from the bed was getting harder. Nevertheless, I continued, as I had to complete my work. In fact, it was soon the only reason of my existence.
One day, I realized: I was trying to pour life into my picture, so I was losing my own life. Now that I can see that the rest of my time is not measured in heartbeats, but in brushstrokes, I’ve decided to tell my story before I take the last step”.
Arnould left the painting in the table, and he observed it again, more closely. The girl was of course the center of the painting, but at her side a there was a man. It wasn’t an important part of the picture but, like the girl, he looked very real: a vividness distant of the one that can be obtained by any artist.