"Perfection," by Meredy Amyx





     On the morning of his fiftieth birthday, Spark Loquist achieved perfection.

     Stepping back to admire his creation, he knew to his soul that it was a thing of beauty.
     The piece had been cut to exquisite proportions and painstakingly contoured from a solid base to a smoothly articulated point, with a twist as graceful as the horn of an impala. It displayed an arc so elegant and refined that it would bring a discerning judge to tears.
     Spark had gently and meticulously smoothed away the marks of weeks of sweaty toil, concealing every wayward stroke of chisel or blade. Finally he had applied a silken finish that made it seem to glow from within. This attention to its surface paradoxically allowed the glory of its true substance to shine through.
     Its true substance is superior, thought Spark without false modesty; but it is the form I gave it that makes it art.
     Yet as he exulted in the triumphant product of years of honing his craft, a small gray wisp of doubt appeared on the horizon of his thoughts. Too honest to ignore it, he waited for it to form into a definable cloud.
     "In this imperfect world," said the cloud, advancing into the foreground of his awareness, "perfection has no home. Perfection belongs only in a place of absolutes: in heaven, or in hell. Here where all is relative, only imperfect things can dwell."
     Spark found himself oddly pleased by the incidental rhyme. It's always nice to know that your unconscious can turn a good line.
     Now came to mind the story of Pygmalion, consumed with passion for the maiden he had sculpted of marble.
      Alexander, weeping like a child because he had no more lands to conquer.
     Sir Arthur Sullivan, longing for a musical chord of ineffable beauty, struck once, lost forever.
     Zerimiel, who was afforded a vision of paradise as he stood on the mountaintop, and refused to look.
     I just made that last one up, he realized.
     And Faust. When shown the culmination of his dreams, he saw in his heart the restless desire to reach further still.
     We create our ultimate creations, thought Spark. We adore them in our way. But we cannot live with them. We imagine Jesus Christ, and then we crucify him. And what a relief it is.
     I am fifty years old. I am ready for neither heaven nor hell. Perfection is premature. What could I possibly do for an encore?
     For a long, tense moment his hands hovered over the computer keyboard.
     With an inward smile to himself that was redolent with the innate perversity of his kind, Spark deleted the final sentence of his perfect story and replaced it with one that was crude and awkward, with too many words, one that tended, on the whole, to be unnecessarily complex, lacking any kind of special virtue that would justify substituting for a supremely crafted and fitting conclusion something deliberately dull and cumbersome that said nothing.

Copyright © 2007 Meredy Amyx.
"Perfection" was completed on May 1, 2007.