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The Devil's in the Details


It is finally here.

For weeks I have been looking forward to focusing all my attention on it to ensure that everything will be perfect, but now that it is here, I’m having second thoughts. The first one being,

“This is bigger than I thought”.

But still, I did not let that throw me off. I tied my hair up, drink by my side, and was prepared for what was going to be the longest week ever. The first few strokes were therapeutic; it was actually fun. Watching the smooth slides and bold strokes, it felt like maybe… just maybe, the experience will not be as painful as once thought. That quickly changed, however, when it was time to deal with the specifics. The sharp corners, the tiny space, the small yet frightening outline; it was imperative that I remain calm. Wished my body could react like it, though. It was quivering, shaking, cramping up in places I didn’t know it could cramp. My neck was beyond strained, and my back was going to snap anytime soon, but I have come too far now to give up. I continued striding on, forgetting all of the pain I was in, how my eyes were starting to get too dry, how I might not be able to blink soon, and how the time seemed to pass more slowly with every stroke that it felt like I was stuck in a loop. Every time it felt like I was approaching the end, just one small step back tells me,

“You wish”.

This is the ultimate test of my patience, and I’m not a very patient person. If I receive a dollar for every moment I want to throw it away, I could buy another copy and smash mine with it. Or maybe hire someone to do it for me. But, by some cosmic miracle, I was going to be done. Everything was lining up perfectly, and it is going to end. The light has finally arrived.

With the final dot, I heaved a sigh of relief. I can’t believe it. The pain, the suffering, the amount of TV time I sacrificed… seven days of torture for this moment. All for this one glorious moment.

I taped it up on my wall and stepped back in pride. Maybe this wasn’t a terrible purchase after all. It sure does give my room a tasteful lift, and now it doesn’t look so drab. It still doesn’t discount the fact that I can now barely stand straight or close my hands.

“This paint-by-numbers is a bitch.”

I was still going to buy one more, though. Probably. I have too much spare time in lockdown.

© 2021 Alison Lian

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