Only The Poor Can Afford

Paulo sat in his usual spot, with a sketchbook in his lap and a piece of charcoal in his hand. It was a warm day and  the light set perfect conditions for work. He smiled to himself and with a confident hand’s motion he drew the first line. The line that, with a little bit of passion and patience, would transform into another masterpiece.

From that spot he could see the center of the town, with all its tall buildings and crowded streets. He had this habit of coming here and watching people as they passed him by. He would just sit there and draw, his eyes carefully observing the world around. It was amazing what his imagination could make of the images he saw. After all, that’s what made him an artist.

It was unbelievable how much you could learn about the others by just watching them.

He saw people like him, who leisurely took their time to notice and appreciate the beautiful things and he also saw people who always were in a rush and whose favorite saying was “time is money”. He wasn’t the one to judge anyone, but he knew that kind of people very well.

They lived in the most luxurious neighborhood in town, where all the ridiculously expensive residences, designed by the renowned architects, looked practically the same—all painted snow-white, with marvelous front porches and spacious green gardens with beautifully grown plants and perfectly cut privet hedges. That view always seemed to impress people, yet Paulo didn’t find it oh-so-breathtaking.

That used to be his world, where he was raised and where he grew up. He always felt as if he didn’t belong there at all, though. All the luxury was nothing particularly fascinating to him and when he finally moved out, the only thing he really missed was the garden. As a kid, he always thought there was something mysterious about it. It was a silent place where he could run and hide from reality, with his own thoughts, a piece of paper and his drawing tools. He also liked the gardening—planting bushes and flowers and watching them grow—which his parents didn’t approve, as they claimed this was the gardeners’ job. They paid them decent salaries for a reason.

As Paulo moved his practiced hand, applying smooth touches of the charcoal to the paper, his thoughts wandered to his family and the life he used to know.

They always had more than they could have dreamed of. Their life seemed perfect. However, all this perfection felt artificial and kind of boring to him. Rolling in money wasn’t everything life was about. His parents were constantly overworked and concerned in the business. They never had time to simply be together. What used to be filled with love and emotion quickly became an empty space as they grew farther and farther apart. The word “home” lost its meaning. It became just a huge white building, soulless and cold.

Paulo and his parents drifted away from each other, especially when he announced he was going to be a professional artist. He suspected they had probably planned his future long before he was even born. They surely imagined him holding a high position in some prosperous company or something like that.

But he made the decision and chose his path on his own. He did what he loved and even though he didn’t always manage to sell his artwork, it still gave him the satisfaction.

Soon, he met the woman who he fell in love with and who loved him back. And they were truly happy. They had a home—not a white residence with a big garden, but a real place, warm and safe. He earned enough money to keep going and despite the fact that his rich family and so-called friends probably considered him a poor person, he didn’t need anything more.

“Maybe,” Paulo thought, “happiness is a rarity only the poor can afford.”

Inspired by an InMon prompt. Thoughts? Leave a comment!


6 thoughts on “Only The Poor Can Afford

  1. A nice story mrsreckless and a pleasant read. Thank you.

    The top of your page says you are 16, whether you are or not anymore so, a certain amount of youth and youthful ideals and feeling does shine out in this story – it’s a rare story that can make cracks in the jaded shells of those more “adult” and less artistically and whimsically inclined, thing that only children truly thrive with.
    You have that ability in your writing (at least based on this story) and you should hold on to it and build on that simple emotional resonance your writing creates and provoke more thoughts through it.


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