Your painting, Restrictions, hit me like a two-ton truck. It’s like you painted what I used to see in my dreams (being able to fly) and what I see now (tethers). My wife tells me to stop worrying about everything. That we have all we need. But it’s not that easy. I don’t want to complain but sometimes it’s hard to get ahead, especially with a special needs son.

I wish I could say that I own your painting. That it was hanging in our house. But, a buddy owns it. Thursdays are card nights. The four of us take turns being host. We’ve been playing for years, but I never saw the painting before. Last week his basement flooded, so we played poker in the den.

That’s when I saw Restrictions. He said he got it from his father a few years back. His dad owns the factory where I work. Good guy, but he’s been sick a lot. That’s why he hired the Tyrant a couple of years ago and I would have quit a long time ago, but it’s a small town. Not much else to do.

Normally I win at cards, but I couldn’t focus. I kept looking at the painting. It was the only thing I’d ever seen that echoed with me. Seeing it meant there was at least one other person in the world who knew how life can put you in chains.

I’ll never tell my wife that. She’d take it personal. But, I don’t want to leave her, or my son, I just want the freedom to change the rest of my life. I want to remember what it felt like to fly. Now all I get are reoccurring dreams. It’s not the same stuff in each dream, but the feeling is the same. I can’t get out.

Some dreams are about me being at the airport. I get to the gate on time and realize my luggage is at the curb. Or I’m trying to get out of the house, but I keep forgetting stuff inside. Or I want to go for a walk, but can’t find my shoes. There’s always some reason I can’t leave and I’m always forgetting what I’ve left behind.

You want to know something? I’d give up flying in my dreams if I could tell off my boss, just like does to me and my friends at the plant. I’d be a better manager than him. At least I respect people. And I know every part about production.

Wait. If my buddy saw the way that guy acted he’d tell his father to can him. Pronto. They’re good people. Really good. It’s funny, I never cared about art before. But when I saw Restrictions, something told me it was time to make a change. I’m gonna make a bet right now. The next time I write to you, I’ll be the boss. And with the money I’m making, I’ll get my own print of Restrictions. It will be hanging in my office, where the door’s always open for decent folk.

Leave a Reply