Phil Lester was a known man, not really famous, but if you asked people around town, they would probably say; “Phil Lester? Oh yes, who doesn’t know Phil Lester?” and then they would chuckle to themselves and walk away. Yes, Phil was known, but sadly not for his paintings or art, no. He was known more as “crazy”, or “he has too much brain”, or “weird”. Phil wasn’t really aware of this though, or... he tried to shut it out.
“They are all wrong”, he thought.
He just hadn’t really found the special ingredient yet. One day, he’ll find it, and then it is his turn to laugh in their faces. That was practically the only thing floating around in his head, while he stood in his art studio spraying colours all over the paper white canvas in front of him. The brush was practically floating across the canvas; it was clear just by the way he held the brush that he had been doing this ever since he was born.
His parents had always been encouraging him. They always loved his paintings, and told him to keep going, they were sure, that Phil would become a big man one day. But Phil still doubted.
He had moved to Paris when he was 20, the day he decided that he wanted to become a famous artist, and the best place to do that was of course; Paris. It was the best decision he had ever made. It had helped him a lot actually. There were so many things to see in Paris, and so many inspirations. Phil started painting right away, and everything went well. He made friends in Paris, Chris and Pj. Pj was kind of an unusual name in the 1400’s, but he said that it was just some kind of “artist name”, which means it is not his real name, and with that explanation, Phil accepted it.
He often wrote letters with his parents, telling them about how well he was and how the painting was making progress. He sometimes even had enough courage to show his paintings off, with other new artists too, to rich people who was looking for art. He always looked at all the other paintings. They were all so amazing, he almost felt ashamed for being there and showing his own off to other people. His could not be compared to all the other art he saw. No one had ever noticed him or his art. He kept going though, but only for a few years before the spark in him suddenly died.
He lost his contact to his parents, and if he had to be honest, he didn’t even know if they were still alive. Now? Well, now he was just a freak, buried away in his small art studio, painting nothings on white canvas in hope of a miracle, all day. It was sad. He never got out of the studio, it was scattered with loads of paintings, some was not completed, and others looked like he had needed to let out some aggressions, paint was practically dripping from the walls by the force of the brush in his hand. It was a mess... He was a mess. His hand kept going though, day and night. It was like he couldn’t stop it, he doesn’t even remember the last time he got any sleep, or even the last time he had made a visit to his bathroom.
He couldn’t believe himself. It had become out of hand. He had to stop; a real artist should know that inspiration doesn’t just come out of the blue if you keep painting until you can’t feel your wrist. You gotta get out, out of your bubble, and see the world around you. Look at the people, the nature, the love, and even the bad. You can use everything.
Phil stopped his hand from doing any more damage on his wrist, and the canvas for that matter. He looked around him and suddenly couldn’t help but feel a bit dizzy. It’s been hours since he had looked up and around him. He could suddenly feel his body, his stomach growled, his legs ached by standing so much, his bladder and head was about to explode. His hand made the way up to his face to rub it, and just that act made his whole arm ache. He ran his hand down his face and felt something rough on his cheeks and down to his chin. He had obviously grown stubble, because he hadn’t shaved for almost two weeks or more. Actually, he can’t remember when he shaved.
He looked over at his calendar on the wall across from him, he had hanged it there so he could always look at it when he got carried away in one of his paintings, but it didn’t really help him much, ‘cause the last time he had track on the dates was, 3rd September. It could be October now for all he knew. Phil then though, that really the only thing he could do to find out the date, was buying the newspaper a few blocks away from his home. Phil sighed loudly, he kind of didn’t want to face people, but if he was being honest with himself, then he would have to at some point. Besides, he really needed fresh air. But first; a bathroom visit.
“Look, it’s Phil Lester, back from hiding,”
“It’s Phil Crazy Lester,”
“He’s so weird,”
“What is he doing out here?”
And that’s how the whispers kept going, right from his apartment to the newspaper shop. People looked, and honestly, he didn’t mind people looking, it was just the way they looked at him; like he was insane. Phil didn’t actually know why they thought he was so crazy. All he had done was stay in his art studio to paint for a few weeks and...
Phil had taken a newspaper and had just paid when he then looks at the date; 1st December. “But... How... I... H-how can I have been locked inside my art studio for almost 4 months!?” Phil thought. He looked wildly around himself with big eyes and saw people staring at him. He also saw... Snow? Some places were patches of snow... It’s been... Snowing? How have I not noticed this!?
Phil couldn’t take all these people’s stare, so he did the only thing that he could think about right now. He ran.
Phil ran until he almost couldn’t breathe and his throat ached from breathing so hard. He leaned against a nearby wall. When he could finally breathe again, he opened the newspaper and saw his own face as the first thing. Phil skimmed the text that was written about him. His eyes became wider and he could feel the anger boil within him, with every word he read. There were even rumors about him. Some meant that he was maybe possessed or even dead, other just said that he had gone mentally insane. “This is rubbish” thought Phil and became even angrier. He threw the newspaper away from himself as if it had burned his skin. He took off walking, he didn’t know to where, this wasn’t even the way towards his apartment. It didn’t matter...
It was dark outside now. He looked at the watch around his wrist to see what time it was. It was only 6 in the evening, but because it was December, it was already dark at 5 o’clock if not earlier. Phil sighed and tucked his jacket closer to himself. Suddenly Phil could hear some noises not far from him. He walked a bit faster so he could look around the corner. It led down to a dead-end and two men... Two men!?
Phil gasped and hid behind the corner to peek, so the two men in black wouldn’t see him. The two men were completely dark, Phil couldn’t see much, but he could make out that they were looking down at something. Phil tried to look between the two men, to see what they were looking down at. The men then suddenly started to kick, and Phil couldn’t hold back another gasp. They were kicking something? Or maybe, someone...
It didn’t last long before the two silhouettes of men finally stopped kicking, and stepped back. Phil could now make out a silhouette of a small... Person?
The two men had started to walk towards Phil, and Phil hurried away from the corner. The two men luckily walked the other way, away from Phil. He breathed out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding. He looked around the corner to look at the poor thing the two men had obviously violated.
Phil walked slowly towards the person, but he kept looking behind himself, scared that the two men might return because they probably weren’t done with the poor human being. When Phil was close enough to see that, yes, it was definitely a person. Phil couldn’t help but feel just a little relieved that it hadn’t been a poor animal. Phil’s love for animals was endless, and he would probably have teared up if he had found some poor animal beat to death by two ruthless men.
Instead it was a poor human being beat to unconsciousness by two ruthless men. That was of course also very bad. Phil looked a little closer. The person was wrapped in a dirty black blanket that didn’t look like it helped very much towards the harsh winter breeze. The face was turned away from Phil; the person had probably tried to protect it. Phil would have done the same.
He also noticed that there laid a very dirty and ugly shoe next to the person. It then hit Phil; this is a homeless person. The shoe is for money, which there were none of; the two men had probably taken them, and the blanket for... Protection towards the harsh winter breeze. Phil suddenly felt really guilty for not stepping in and saving this poor homeless person. Phil took the courage to crouch and pull at the other person’s shoulders. He rolled the unconscious body onto its back. Phil looked down at the person’s face and gasped.
It was a man. A very, very beautiful man. Or rather, a very young, beautiful man. He didn’t look any older than 20. Phil didn’t think when he removed the hair from the beautiful face. Luckily the face actually hadn’t taken any damage, besides a few scratches on the cheeks and also a lot of dirt. His hair was also dirty, but still kind of soft to the touch. Phil didn’t know how long he stayed there and just stared at the young boy, until two warm, chocolate brown eyes opened slowly, and suddenly they were wide.
Before Phil could even blink, the boy had flied out of his arms and had now his back up against the brick wall and stared with wide, scared and also curious eyes, at Phil. The boy breathed hard, the poor thing was probably having a heart attack. Phil looked softly at the boy in front of him and said,
“Hey, it’s okay. I promise I will not hurt you. I promise. You’re save now.”
The beautiful boy stared at Phil, more curious than scared now. Phil smiled softly at the adorable boy. The boy smiled very carefully back at Phil, and Phil’s eyes lit up. “Gosh, he is beautiful.” Phil thought he had never seen a man or woman for that matter, nearly as beautiful as this one. They suddenly started blushing and looked down away from Phil, and Phil then realized that he had just said his thoughts out loud. The boy murmured something, but it was so careful that Phil didn’t catch it.
“What is it?” asked Phil softly. The boy spoke a little louder,
“I-I’m not beautiful.” Now it was Phil’s turn to look with wide curios eyes at the boy. “How can he not think he’s beautiful?” thought Phil. Phil took the courage to ask,
“Have you ever seen yourself?”
The boy looked up at Phil through his long, delicious eyelashes,
“I saw myself for the first time a week ago when... When I walked past a window... I-... I didn’t like what I saw... I’m dirty, and smelly, and ugly and...” the boy had tears in his eyes, and Phil couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How can it be the first time he ever sees himself? And how can he not like it? Without thinking, Phil carefully pulled the boy towards himself and tugged him into a hug. The other boy was too paralyzed to pull away, so he just let himself get hugged. He had never been hugged before. It felt... Nice...
The boy closed his eyes and couldn’t help but enjoy it. He also enjoyed the man’s touch. The man looked very... Nice... And handsome... The boy blushed by his own thoughts. He had never been thinking like this about another person. He has always hated the human being, everybody was ruthless and they didn’t care about homeless people or people weaker than themselves. But this man? He was everything that he had ever dreamed of.
All too soon, the man’s hug was over, but luckily he kept his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Phil looked over the boy’s face and saw the weak colour red on his cheeks. Phil couldn’t help but smirk a little.
“What is your name?” asked Phil the boy. He looked at Phil before he spoke,
“Dan... They-they call me Dan.”
Phil looked a little confused,
“They?” he then asked the – I mean, Dan.
Dan looked away, but Phil wouldn’t have it, he wanted to drown and get lost in the brown eyes, so he took a soft grip on Dan’s chin and guided it towards Phil, so they were once again looking each other in the eyes. Dan sighed, before he answered Phil,
“The people I’ve been with. I-I’ve had a few families, but... My last family didn’t want me anymore, so... They kicked me out on the streets... I-I’ve been living on the streets for about a year... Or, so I think.”
Dan informed Phil all this in the quietest voice, but Phil listened very carefully, so he didn’t miss a single word. Phil just wanted to hug Dan into his chest and never let go. Poor boy.
“I’m so sorry Dan.” Phil said with as much compassionate that Dan almost began crying again. Dan shook it off and changed the topic,
“So... What may I call you?” Dan asked with a soft smile on his beautiful lips. Phil smiled back and couldn’t help but chuckle, he had completely forgotten to tell Dan.
“My name is Phil Lester.” Said Phil and Dan’s eyes got a little wider.
“Ph-Phil Lester? As in, “Phil-Crazy-Lester”?” Phil chuckled again,
“So that’s what they call me?” Phil said sarcastically. “Yes, that is me.” He then said when he noticed Dan didn’t relax by his first answer. Then Dan said something that Phil had not expected at all.
“I love your paintings.” Phil stared at Dan for a while, and Dan got nervous. Phil then chuckled and thanked Dan, and Dan then relaxed.
“How do you know about my paintings?” Phil asked.
“Well, who doesn’t? You may be known as “Phil-Crazy-Lester”, but your paintings are also known across town.” Dan said, and he suddenly seemed very relaxed and confident. He liked this side of Dan. Phil got an idea.
“Come with me home.” Phil says out loud, and Dan blushes.
“Ph-Phil. I-I c-can’t. I mean I-I want to, but...” Dan looked away. Phil looked at Dan and said,
“Please. Let me paint you.” Dan looked up at Phil’s big grin. After a few minutes, Dan nods.
“It isn’t so big. I’m sorry about the mess. I haven’t really left this place for 4 months.” Dan looked surprised up at Phil, and Phil just laughed,
“I promise you, I’m actually not as crazy as people think. They don’t know me.”
A smiling Phil walked into the bathroom and turned on the water for Dan to use.
“I’m sorry if the water turns cold, I haven’t paid the water check in a while now.” Phil smiled guiltily at Dan. Dan just smiled thankfully at Phil. He was just happy to be getting a bath after so long.
After only half an hour later, Dan walked into Phil’s art studio where Phil sat, with clean clothes that he borrowed from Phil and still slightly damp hair, that looked really nice to run your fingers through. Phil couldn’t tear his eyes away from Dan even if he wanted to – which he didn’t –, he was absolutely gorgeous. Phil had laid an outfit out for Dan to wear it was slightly too big, but it somehow still fitted him perfectly. It was simple black pants, a white long sleeved shirt which was puffy at his wrists, and then a black vest, and he was absolutely breathtaking. But the bad part was, Dan couldn’t see it. But Phil was about to change that.
“If you just position yourself on that chair in front of the canvas and me, Dan.” Said Phil softly, and Dan did as he was told. Dan and Phil started to get to know each other a lot better through though the few months it took Phil to finish the painting of Dan. Dan was only 19, even though Dan wasn’t even entirely sure. His parents died when he was a baby, so he had been with a few families before he turned 16 or 18, then they didn’t want him anymore, so they kicked him out. People never looked at him. Until Phil.
The painting was done, and Phil was really proud of himself. Dan was even more thrilled. It was beautiful... He looked beautiful. Phil convinced Dan to show it off, but Dan was still skeptic. What if he wasn’t pretty enough? Phil couldn’t help himself anymore. After these few months with Dan, he had fallen in love with the young man, and the way that Dan still didn’t know how beautiful he was, made Phil want to make him see it. So Phil leaned closer, and softly kissed Dan on the lips, like he dreamed about for months, though this was different. It was real.
“I love you” said Phil, and Dan could hear that it came from within his heart, and Dan had never felt more loved. Dan looked straight into Phil’s beautiful eyes and said,
“I love you too.” And meant it just as much, he leaned in, and captured Phil’s lips in a kiss again, this time with more passion, trust and love.
The picture became the most famous painting in history. Everybody talked about “the beautiful boy on the canvas”. But there was one thing they didn’t know; he was a real person, and his name was Dan.