Rated PG. for reflected nihilism.
Hall of Mirrors
By Bruce Holland Rogers
One afternoon during his lunch hour, Emory wasn’t feeling particularly hungry. It was the monthly free-admission day at the art museum, so instead of getting a sandwich he went in to look at paintings. “This one,” he said to himself, “makes me think of flying, except that the blue is not right for the sky. It is more of a painting about sorrow, I think. Of flying through sorrow.”
Emory was in the habit of mumbling his thoughts aloud, but usually he was so quiet, his words so indistinct, that no one knew what he was saying. This time, however, a woman who stood near him said, “Interesting. Then what do you make of the companion piece?”
He looked at her as she stood waiting, an earnest expression on her face. He nearly apologized, nearly told her that he knew nothing about art. But then he glanced at the second painting and the words were out of his mouth, clearly and distinctly this time. “All that whiteness makes me think of hospitals. The jagged line there, the bucket that is tipped over but isn’t spilling a drop — it must be the psychiatric ward of the hospital. The yellow corners, the dead flies make sure that I know not to take comfort in the whiteness. Fear of insanity. That’s what I see.”