I always kinda liked this painting. This is me, standing next to the very worst person I’ve ever known.
He was a terrible person. Selfish, thoughtless, smelly, and evil. Rapey, an abuser, a real piece of shit. You can’t tell from this painting, but he was also not that good looking. He had flat, dead eyes that I could never paint because they were so devoid of any light or character. So I took liberties with them here and added light and dark and drama that never really lived in them. He had terrible skin, too. He used to break out in these ugly, oozing rashes all the time. I used to make tinctures trying to cure him of this affliction, but it turned out just to be his own foul, stinking evil creeping from his over-sized, ugly pores. He stunk of this.
I knew what he was, by the time I painted this.
But I had been grieving so long for a life I’d had before the world ended, that I just couldn’t take another ending right then. So I pretended. I made him up, into an imaginary partner that I knew he would never, ever be. And that’s why I’m smiling in this painting, standing near that selfish gum wrapper of a man, who thought he was so clever, when the joke was really upon him all along.
He’d slither around sabotaging my life, but I was too scared to just end it. I did not want to be out in the world again, so I hid behind this rash-skinned reptile of a man, thinking it was only fair to be using him in the way he had thought to be using me.
Sometimes, I’d entertain a tiny hope that he could change, that he could be saved, that he could really be the person we were both pretending that he was. But we knew better. When I fed this hope with such delusions, I used to ask him for truths about things I knew he had lied about. I’d build him a nest to be safe in, and I’d open the door for him to just come clean. But he never did. He thought he was so smart. He thought he was fooling me. But he never was.
So I struggled to keep him at arms length, then, while I healed from everything I’d been through before I met him, and I embraced each new wound that this selfish, sadistic, awful prick intentionally inflicted upon me. I saw every one of those terrible wounds as one new tear in the strange fabric that had held me to him. And one day, I’d finally had enough of him to break him off of me, to peel away his greasy stink, to grow the wings I’d needed and to drop this ugly demon back down into the underworld, the place I’d found him in the first place – he was never anything but a minor, petty little selfish, ugly demon who had followed me up from the darkness at the end of the world and it was time to leave him there and grow back up into the world again.
This painting has been destroyed now. But I have always liked the way it captures both the smug, ignorant evil of him, thinking he was pulling something off that he never really was, juxtaposed against the grin of knowing on my face. The pretend “boyfriend” who so stupidly thought he was getting away with something he was too stupid to know he wasn’t, who so ridiculously thought he would come away from all of that unscathed. I think he was actually flattered to be painted like this, all his evil showing through pretend veneer. That silly, stupid fool.