The Perfect Circle
It was evening and overcast when she caught the cab. It remained evening and overcast as she climbed the stone steps to the semi-impressive gallery. She was on time, that is late, and was ill-received by several of the milling mob. She took in, quick, the photography on the walls.
“Since when is photography art?” She wondered aloud at the garish digital snapshots framed large and shiny. And, “Isn’t it odd how selling it somehow makes it worthless?” She was in an amused state of ornery grace when a hand clapped, heavy like a fish, onto her shoulder. “Glad you could make it, old friend.” She faced her old friend. Patterns sang in recognition, if not joy, as they exchanged gazes rather than embraces and then closed in on a nearby conversation.
Garbling swallowed minutes until she caught it, clear — “It’s impossible for a human being to draw the perfect circle…” It struck and stuck to her. The perfect circle. She’d been absently listening, hovering somewhere just above the lamplight; rapt with the shadows. Perhaps visually circling the impression of the shade on the wall. She’d been busying her hands, perhaps intently circling her thumb around the bottom of her plastic glass of sparkling wine. Certainly, the circles had been there all along. Hadn’t it always been this way?
Of course. Bubbles rose in effortless perfection from her very fingertips. They’re everywhere; in faces, rings, embraces, fruit. Circles. Spins. Planets and the wheels, buttons and pins. She tips, dizzy, and once again; the hand – heavy like a dead fish. “Are you OK?” She nods with her whole body, “Yes”. But, no. Science thinks it has beaten art.
But, yes. She will draw the perfect circle. At last, the ultimate futile quest. When there’s no chance of success, the process supersedes the product. A loophole. A perfectly circular loophole. An enigma. The question answers itself, but poses anyway.
Somehow the weak half-sentence had, at once, lassoed her full and eternal attention. “..impossible to draw a perfect circle.” The phrase levitated — the supreme artistic existential statement. The meaning of art! Circles. Cycles. The tides. The boulders and eyes. Circles. Suddenly and dramatically this apotheosis caused in her a visible physical shift. She elevated, from crumpled to beaming. Her cheeks even appled and her teeth made a rare and crooked appearance as her mouth stretched into a wide smile.
And yet, no one took notice. She pressed to see her revelation reflected around her; in her old friend, in these nameless others. But if her ecstatic panic registered with them, it did not show. She got nothing from the stuffed skin-sacks before her. Mouths flapped, dumbly. She faced each one in turn and they nodded and smiled and said nothing, or something. But with no inkling of acknowledgement. And the envelope of evening sealed to night.