The artist paints himself sitting alone at a table, looking into the distance for the person who will not join him. This is the time he must face alone, at last. Around him is only the cold and snow. The table is empty and the glass of wine was finished a long time ago. The colors on his old palette have all faded and dried and turned to grey. But still he lingers, waiting. Soon a fussy waitress will come by and ask him if he has had enough, and he will tell her that he has had quite enough, that he has had more than enough.
|To the end, then.|
Too much, in fact. How did he get here? Slowly and painfully, he remembers the steps in life he took. Step by step he brought himself to the place where he is now. He has no one to thank or blame but himself. Retracing his footsteps would be pointless at this stage. The time for that is long since over. Now he must face what we all must face at the end as we look back one last time at our footsteps in the cold snow.
There is a perfect accounting system, and he pays his debt down to the last penny, which it turns out, is the very last penny he has. And now that he is poor and has nothing else to give, he gains his freedom. But at such a price. Who would have guessed that the only way to have everything was to have absolutely nothing?
The year crawls to an agonizing close. It is cold. The days are short and the nights are very, very long. The year climbs drunkenly to the end, teetering this way and that. It’s too humiliating to watch. To the top of the hill, then, he tells himself. Just to the top of the hill and no further. Then I will lie down.
The King is dead. Long live the King.