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  • Anonymous

Unexpected Ways

With empty pockets and a longing in his heart, he can't help but wonder if there's something more to life than the constant cycle of struggle and survival. But when he looks up from his work and notices a pair of eyes looking back at him from across the street, he wonders whether it's time for a change.

Huang Renhui was an earnest young man who hailed from a small town. He spent his days wandering the city streets, selling his work to passers-by to make ends meet. From graffiti to mural art, his artwork was intricate. Spontaneous creations with distinct creative skills and profound intent, Renhui’s creations were instantly recognizable, with bold, vivid colors and intricate details that drew viewers in. His work captured moments of calm and serenity, transporting viewers to a serene and peaceful world. The colors he used ranged from soothing pastels to vibrant, contrasting hues that created a sense of movement and energy. All of his pieces were works of art that inspired awe and appreciation in anyone who viewed them. His attention to detail and passionate creativity made him one of the most revered artists in town. Renhui was filled with pride every time his work was praised and lauded, but it wasn't enough to quench his ravenous need. Despite his success, he was dissatisfied and empty on the inside. It seemed as if he was after something, looking for meaning and purpose in everything he did, yet praise from others could never fill the hole within.

Today, Renhui set out his painting booth near the children’s park. He carefully unfolded a soft cotton cloth on the ground, to display his artwork. The white fabric served as a brilliant backdrop for his creations, allowing the vivid colors and details to pop out against the stark background. Renhui was particular about the material he used to display his artwork. He felt that the softness and smoothness of the cotton cloth provided a stark contrast with the rigidity and roughness of the street asphalt, highlighting the beauty of his paintings and further capturing the attention of passersby. The light weight and natural whiteness of the fabric only added to the appeal of the display, creating a soothing and inviting ambiance for viewing his work. Subtle wrinkles and creases in the folds of the cloth were almost like tiny lines of texture that graced the backdrop.The folds and wrinkles of the fabric were not only pleasing to the eye, but also provided an added element of texture and depth to his already striking artwork. Its simplicity and elegance of the setup left people with no choice but to stop and admire the beautiful paintings. On days like these, when the weather was particularly favorable, Renhui would set up his easel. He loved the natural beauty of the park, and often drew inspiration from its lush greenery, sweet-scented flowers, and breathtaking scenery. He would find a quiet corner of the park and spread out a white canvas for his artwork. As the sunlight danced across the white sheet, the artist dipped his paint brushes in his palette of colors and began to work his magic. Renhui gently began to roughly sketch out the outline of the park. His brush meticulously traced the outlines on the canvas. With swift strokes of his pencil, he captured the sunlight glancing through the leaves, the distant sound of birds singing, and the gentle breeze in the air, creating an amazing rendering of the landscape. He paused periodically to take in the breathtaking beauty of the park, which he was painstakingly recording onto the canvas. As Renhui worked intently on his canvas, a few children and their parents stopped in their tracks to watch him. While the adults were impressed by his attention to detail and the meticulous way in which he blended colors and shadows, the children were fascinated by the way he brought the park to life on the canvas. The artist could see the joy and awe in their eyes and he was reminded of why he started drawing in the first place. Soon after, he heard someone close inquire, “Excuse me, how much for that painting?”. When Renhui turned around, he noticed a young man staring at one of his works. He smiled broadly at the man, displaying his sparkling whites as his eyes crinkled. "It's 25 dollars, but it's worth every penny." he replied. The young man grinned and gave the money over. The kids flocked around Renhui, staring in wonder as he painted. They appeared enthralled by his ability and creativity, as though drawn in by the enchantment of a fairy luring them into a fantasy realm. Their gazes were drawn to his every brushstroke, and a couple of them even went so far as to stand on their tiptoes to get a closer look. "Wow, you draw like a real-life fairy..." One of the younger children chimed excitedly. Another one cut in, "Yeah, can I touch it?" Renhui turned around and gave the youngsters a bashful grin. "I'm afraid not, at least not once I finish, sorry." 

"Can you teach me how to paint like that?" 

Renhui paused momentarily to consider his response. Then, with a warm smile, he offered, "I'd be happy to teach you one day, but for now, enjoy my work with your eyes first. Art is meant to be admired and appreciated, just like a rainbow." The children giggled and continued to gaze at the vibrant landscapes, their cheeks flushed in appreciation and delight. The afternoon sun slowly set, the parents began to tire from watching over their children. One by one, they took their young ones by the hand and gently pulled them away, leaving in their wake a calm and still park. Despite this, the artist remained in the same spot, finishing the details of the painting. He was determined to capture the peaceful beauty of the setting in its entirety, a reminder of the calm and tranquil world he was so passionate about depicting. Renhui was now finishing up the final touches on his painting, he noticed footsteps approaching through his peripheral vision. He looked up from his work to see who could be disturbing the peaceful atmosphere he was so intent on capturing. As he did, he noticed a pair of white heels stop right in front of him, and his heart suddenly skipped a beat. His gaze moved up the legs to find the owner of these shoes - it was the woman he had met his eyes with across the street. She looked down at him with a warm smile. 

Renhui and the woman looked at each other, time seemed to stand still. The world around them faded away, as their eyes connected in a flurry of emotions. They both felt a strong connection, as if they were meant to meet. 

"Good evening." she said softly, "I'm Evelyn."

At the sound of her voice, Renhui felt his heart swell and the color rise to his face.

“Hi, I’m Renhui, Huang Renhui.”

"Your paintings are stunning. I've always wanted to be an artist, but I couldn't." Evelyn chirps.

“Why so? If I may ask.” Renhui quips back.

“My family wasn’t very fond of that idea, also, I’m not that good at art” Evelyn laughs.

Renhui felt a surge of emotions at her response. He could relate to her struggle, having felt the same way when he followed his calling despite the opposition from his family. "I know a thing or two about learning to paint. Would you like to learn from me?" Renhui offered. The woman's eyes lit up at the thought of finally learning how to paint and create her own artwork. "Yes, please!" she eagerly agreed. Renhui doesn't know what overtook him as he offered the young woman, who he had only met 5 minutes ago to teach her to paint. It may have been love at first sight. Because for Huang Renhui, it seems like love can move people to act in unexpected ways and move them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism.

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