Chapter 13:

The One You Admire

My Three Dying Rules

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: I can imagine that this was probably one of your toughest decisions yet.

Pandora: Hurting my mom when she was at her lowest and skipping my beloved Grandpa’s funeral… it was just too much for me. At the time, I really appreciated that Aura was with me, holding my hand.

Doctor: But I guess it was his turn next.

Pandora: I’m not paying you for guessing, am I?

Doctor: There she is, the usual cheeky Pandora. I was getting worried about you.

Pandora: The funeral concluded and my family went back to Grandpa’s house. I spent the whole day after that with Aura. In the evening, I came to Grandpa’s grave to pay my respects and ask him for forgiveness. When I finally showed up home…

Setting: The village, Grandpa’s house / 3rd July 2022

Pandora comes in through the front door. One she passes it, Leon is there standing, waiting for her.

Leon: (pissed off) Where the hell have you been, you brat?!

Pandora: I was with my friend whom I haven’t seen since we moved out.

Leon: (He grabs her hand forcibly) Is that the reason why you would skip Grandpa’s funeral and make Mother worry?!?!

Pandora: Stop it, Leon, you’re hurting me!

Leon: What’s this pain when you compare it to Mother’s?!

Pandora: (inner monologue) What do you know about Mother anyway? (out loud) You’re the one to talk, big bro. You skipped last year’s trip to Grandpa’s just to work on your petty business.

Leon: Pandora!!! (Vein on his forehead pops up.)

As he screams her name, in a fantasy, Pandora watches another pillar below a statue that holds a little pirate-like chest receive a second crack.

Father: (comes from behind Leon) Stop it, Leon.

Leon lets Pandora go and he leaves from the hallway.

Father: What you’ve done is unforgivable. How are you going to look to Mother’s eyes now? Why did you even do that? Your heart was aching so much.

Pandora: I… don’t know.

Father: Go talk to your Mother. Now.

Pandora lowers her head and stares down upon ground and leaves. She comes to the living room where her Mother sits in Grandpa’s chair and looks out the window.

Pandora: Mom, I-

Mother: Don’t say anything. Whatever you say is not going to fix it. (cold tone)

Pandora: But I miss him. And I love him so much.

Mother: Not saying a final goodbye at a funeral to a person you love that much… Who even are you, Pandora? This is not the Pandora I brought up.

Pandora keeps staring at the ground.

Mother: Just tell me one thing. Do you regret what you’ve done?

Pandora: (inner monologue) Of course I regret this!! This is not what I was planning to do! (Out loud) No.

In the fantasy, Pandora stands in front of a statue of little Pandora and the pillar below her receives a second crack.

Mother: …I see.

Father watches the interaction between the two.

Father: We need to take care of a lot of things before we head home. So we will be here probably until next Friday. (He leaves outside.)

Pandora leaves Mother alone and goes to her bedroom upstairs. There, Leon gives her another disappointed look. Then he turns his back on her and murmurs something.

Leon: This is all that tall man’s fault…

Pandora hears this and she comes to a sudden realization.

Setting: The village, Grandpa’s house / 4th July 2022

Pandora is seen painting something in her bedroom. She was never a good artist. Leon finds her in a room.

Leon: What are you doing?

Pandora: Painting.

Leon: I can see that. But why? It looks just awful.

Pandora: Since I am not singing anymore, I want to express my sadness through a different form of art.

Leon: So now you wanna express your sadness… and with that pathetic looking bird. Sure.

The painting Pandora paints is hidden behind her body.

Setting: The village, Aura’s house / 5th July 2022

Pandora knocks on the door and she is holding something large and thin that is covered in a green cloth. Aura answers the door.

Aura: Come in~.

Pandora: So can I help you with something? Should I pack your painting and hold onto it for you?

Aura: I’d be glad! It’s still in my room, please go get it, I’ll water these flowers in the living room. My father asked me to do it since he will be coming back from his business trip tomorrow.

Pandora: Sure~.

Pandora enters his room. The painting is not covered by the cloth like before. She looks behind her and takes one of his brushes that are lying on his desk. She then takes black color and stands in front of his Red Swan painting. She hesitates.

Pandora: (inner monologue) Should I do it? Or will the other scheme be enough…?

She closes her eyes and starts painting across it with the black brush, destroying the picture.

Aura: Are you okay? Do you need help?

Aura appears behind her. Pandora is flustered. But being aware of his blindness, she keeps painting with the black color across the Red Swan right in front of unsuspecting Aura.

Pandora: No, everything is as it should be. I’ll have this packed in no time.

Aura: Please use the cloth over there for packing it, my father said that one is nice. The painting will need to be covered until they ask me to uncover it so I need a nice representative cloth for that as well.

Pandora: This red one? Sure!

Aura leaves her alone in the room. After a while, she comes out and is holding Aura’s painting packed in the red cloth.

Pandora: Shall we go?

Aura: Yes! I am getting so hyped up!

Setting: At the psychologist / present

Doctor: You destroyed his Magnum Opus…

Pandora: That’s not all.

Setting: The neighboring town, national gallery / 5th July 2022

Aura and Pandora have entered the building of the National Gallery. Pandora is amazed by all the art surrounding her. There is a man waiting for them in another room.

Host: You must be Aura! I am the host of this contest. They told me to wait for you here, the presentation of the paintings is about to start. Oh, and you are…?

Pandora: I am Pandora, I am Aura’s escort for this event, I will be taking care of him throughout today!

Host: Oh, what a lovely young lady that accompanies you! Sure, please follow me to your stand.

Pandora and Aura follow the Host. There are 11 others stands with the artists waiting, lined up next to each other in the center of the big room. Pandora hangs the painting still packed on the last free stand. Aura has a number 3. There are a lot of people watching the event from the chairs in front of the stands.

Host: Now that everybody is here, let’s start this event!

Pandora and Aura are eagerly waiting next to each other at their stand. The lights in the room go out and only the stands are in the spotlight.

Host: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen! This is the special edition of our National Gallery Contest! The winner will get the chance to have their painting hung in the International Gallery of Art overseas!

The people start applauding.

Host: Now, our young artists will uncover their masterpieces and our Judge sitting at the desk will rate each and every one of them! Let the show begin!

The artist number one is in the spotlight, the other lights have gone out too.

Host: Contestant no. 1, please uncover your masterpiece!

The young boy artist uncovers the painting.

Contestant no. 1: This is my best painting. It’s called Dedicate Your Heart.

The crowd applauds. The Judge gives the rating.

Judge: Very beautiful, I can see you really poured your heart and soul into that one. I give it 8.5/10.

Aura: I am getting nervous!

Pandora: That painting is truly beautiful.

Host: Don’t forget that the Judge’s ratings have only advising character. It is you, the audience here that will vote for the best painting in the end!

Pandora: What? Really?

Aura: Yes, these are not ordinary people. They are all from the art field. Teachers, artists, connoisseurs.

Pandora: Oh, I see.

Host: Contestant no. 2, please uncover your masterpiece!

The female young artist uncovers her painting.

Contestant no. 2: I present you my biggest pride! It’s called, the Rumbling!

The audience applauds.

Judge: The painting screams with emotion. I can feel the misery and depression that it represents! I give it 9.5/10!

Host: Woah, now that was a really generous rating!

Pandora: Don’t worry, Aura. You’ve got this.

Host: Now, contestant no. 3, please uncover your masterpiece!

Aura: Here we go. Panda, will you, please?

Aura and Pandora both touch the cloth and reveal Aura’s painting.

Aura: This is my best painting. I hope you like it. It’s called the Red Swan.

The audience is in the state of shock. At first, there is nothing but silence. The Host and Judge are looking at the painting with open mouth.

Aura: What do their faces say, Panda?

Host: E-ehm… let’s see what our Judge has to say about this… piece of art.

Judge: Young man. I see that you have an unfortunate condition. And I am proud of everybody who takes a brush into their hands. But I have just one question. Are you mocking us?

The murmur in the audience starts.

Aura: W-what do you mean?

Pandora just looks down at the floor, with her eyes being shaded out.

Judge: Are you mocking art itself?! This is no children’s game, boy! This is a serious event and such a ridiculous piece of crap cannot be displayed in this building!! 0/10!!!

Aura: P-Panda, what is going on? I don’t understand? Is my painting really that terrible?

He touches his painting with his hands. The fingertips slide across the surface of the painting.

Aura: Wait. This painting… t-this painting… it’s not mine!!

The painting is revealed to not be the one that Aura painted. It is not the one that Pandora destroyed with the black brush. It is truly a children’s attempt of a painting. There is a sorry excuse of a red bird painted.

Aura: P-Panda! What is this?! Didn’t you bring my Red Swan painting here? Didn’t you wrap it in the cloth??

Pandora starts laughing hysterically.

Pandora: Ahahahaha!! Ooops! My bad!! I guess I took the wrong painting from your room!

In a fantasy, the pillar below the blindfolded statue that holds the canvas cracks significantly.

Aura: Panda, I don’t understand, this isn’t even my painting!

Pandora: Oh, you’re right. I guess that’s the one that I painted yesterday, hihi.

Host: E-ehm, excuse us! (He puts away the microphone and comes to Pandora and Aura.) What are you two doing here? What’s the meaning of this?!

Pandora: Your dream will never come true, Aura. I couldn’t become an artist on my own, so no blind brat is gonna best me in this!!!

Aura: P- … no, you don’t mean this…! (He starts crying.)

Host: Just what kind of a devil are you, young lady?

Pandora: Shut up, geezer! Or do you pity this little boy just because of his handicap?

Aura: Panda… I have always liked you… and admired you. When did you change so much? Just who have I been waiting for all these years??

Pandora: The one you admire doesn’t exist. We will never see each other again. Oh, that’s right, you never even could see me, little cripple, ahahahah!

Host: Get out!!! Get the hell out of this building you devil!!

Pandora: Gladly! (She hits the stand and the painting falls down, she then leaves.)

Aura: Pandora!! I will never forget this!! I didn’t deserve this from you! I trusted you! (Crying and screaming.) Waaaghhhh!!!

In the fantasy, the pillar crumbles down. The chains break and so the blindfolded statue falls from the platform.

Pandora: (while leaving, she starts shedding tears, inner monologue) Aura. I wish you all the best in your life. Please do not wait for me anymore. You deserve to move on. Become a great artist for me. I love you.