This week's word for the Trifecta Writing Challenge is sway:
3 a : a controlling influence
b : sovereign power : dominion
c : the ability to exercise influence or authority : dominance
Thank God for deadlines and constraints.
When he’d taken the apartment, he hadn’t even noticed the art gallery on the next block, focusing instead on the local bars and eateries. The gallery had been part of the background noise of the city, and had not registered.
When the painting appeared in the window, though, the gallery (the kind of small, understated place that couples with loft apartments and overextended credit patronized) became the only thing he noticed. The painting became the only thing he noticed.
When he first saw it he’d been stunned into immobility. He’d faced the enormous canvas with its bold, pulsing swirls of color like a mongoose assessing the cobra, each knowing one would be the other’s agent of doom. The last time he’d seen the painting it was drying on an easel in her studio and she was telling him that she wished him well, but she thought it best if they didn’t see each other any more.
Now it hung in a gallery window in his neighborhood, selling for a lot more than he could really afford. But after three weeks of trying to avoid it and failing, finding himself helpless over the painting’s sway, he cashed some bonds and emptied his savings and brought the painting home where he'd sat on the sofa looking at it, propped up against the wall, for hours, drinking cheap beer he’d kept in the fridge.
It was dawn when he went into the kitchen and returned with a bag. He hefted the oversized canvas down the stairs and along the street to a playground a block away. Leaning the canvas against the chain link, he pulled a can out of the bag. Unscrewing the lid, he doused the canvas and struck a match.
The sun was just clearing the neighborhood roofs as the bright flames rose into the grey sky.