We Too Have Our Rough Edges

In the corner of a hotel room I stayed in, there was a watercolor.

It was cream colored houses by a river. The angles were elegant, the lines precise. It had been painted by a schooled hand.

I noticed one evening that the houses were now slanted. The watercolor was slipping out of its mat. Perhaps it was an act of escape, like it was trying to get to the real river outside the hotel window.

But with the watercolor at a tilt, I could see the edges of the paper the artist painted on. It was the informal corrugated kind that you tear out with a satisfying rip.

There was something comforting about seeing this elegant, precise piece more wholly. Nothing is only the face it shows the world. And sometimes, escape from the confines of that presentable face is freedom.

The other pieces in the room hung as they were supposed to. I looked at one with a grand Victorian hotel and boaters in the lake. Wonder what’s on your edges and undersides? A smear of mustard from lunch? Test sketches before the actual painting? A gazebo scene, botched irreparably and cut out of the painting?

Out of the hotel room and on the street, I usually forget to wonder. I take the lovely face turned towards the world as the whole thing.

The cream colored houses at their unintended slant are more honest. No, they assure, we too have our rough edges.

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