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Sunday Shorts: Pygmalion's Statue

By Sarah Cate Anstey, Jul 31 2016 10:52AM

Mal’s friends had given up trying to match make him. Numerous attempts had been made and failed. The collapse of their endeavours was met with mixed responses. The men were disappointed with what they perceived as Mal’s lack of enthusiasm and his fastidious attitude towards dating.

“You should be grateful, we weren’t so choosy.” They told their other halves. Their wives assured them how appreciative they were of their husbands’ easy going and carefree natures, but instructed them to “Leave Mal be, he’s happy as he is.” Indeed, the wives understood, albeit too late, Mal’s reticence.

In time, the husbands conceded that on this point, at least, their wives did appear to be right and let Mal be. In fact, they found Mal’s solo status suited them. It was a good excuse to give for keeping up with the ‘lads’ holidays’ which, since they had paired off, had become a source of tension with their other halves. Having no children of his own, Mal proved an adept uncle to the growing brood his friends acquired throughout the years. What's more, as he seldom, if ever, went on dates himself, Mal could be counted upon for babysitting duty, whenever his friends were required to recompense for their lads’ time away by taking their wives out for a ‘nice meal.’ Over time, his friends accepted Mal’s single status as they had grown accustomed to his artistic temperament. For his friends found that when inspiration was upon him, there was no use trying to get Mal out. This would cause a minor inconvenience where babysitting were concerned, but his friends, particularly those in the male camp, were sensitive to Mal’s needs.

Mal’s inspiration could hit at any moment. He got it from everywhere and anywhere. Mal’s latest inspiration had recently hired out the studio space, opposite his. Mal had held the door open for her as she struggled with an easel and she had smiled gratefully at him. Mal had hurried back to his studio and closed the door.

Since then there had been no communication. Mal watched for her to leave and then waited for ten minutes before he left. Nevertheless she had been the inspiration for his latest creation and he scrupulously sculpted from a drawing he had sketched meticulously after their one and only encounter. Eventually, Mal finished his statue. The likeness to his neighbour was uncanny and testament to Mal’s talent.

Mal no longer waited for his neighbour to leave. In fact he almost forgot her existence. His friends wondered what masterpiece he must be working on, as Mal had exceeded his common creative phase by several weeks.

“I was wondering,” Gala started, “if I could commission something from you? Something stunning. A one off. Something all my friends will look at and go ‘Wow!’ ”

This time Mal didn’t try to say anything. The gods, taking pity on his predicament, had turned him to stone.

“That’s perfect! Just what I was looking for!” Gala said, impressed.

© copyright Sarah Catherine Anstey 2016

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Author: Sarah Catherine Anstey


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