As Thomas tucked the paintbrush behind his ears, he sat up from his typical slouched position to get a wider look at his canvas, He slowly tapped his feet, like a metronome measuring his degrees of frustration, a thoughtful frown crept on his face as he squinted his eyes.

"Something is not quite right" He muttered to himself.

"That is quite good, Thomas" The instructor interrupts his deep musings with a slight nod.

Thomas took a look at his instructor and smiled in response, he might feel uneasy with his work but he draws some comfort from his instructor which was in contrast to his authoritarian parents who never wanted him to pursue art as a career in the first place.

Thomas was what you would call a gifted-child, He started showing the qualities of an art prodigy from a very young age, which led to him getting a scholarship to study at this prestigious art academy.

Although Thomas has all these accolades from his colleagues and mentors, he still feels uneasiness with his art, It's like no matter what he does, something still feels missing.

He stared at the canvas with a deadpan gaze for a brief moment before noticing a slight irritation crawling on his pale hairy skin, He instinctively reached and felt his pack of cigarettes in his breast pocket while looking at the wall clock at the corner of the room, it was almost time for lunch.

"Alright let's take a break," The instructor said firmly.

Thomas immediately stood up with his cigarette pack now firmly in his hands as he hurriedly walked out the door, eager for his dose of nicotine.

He took swift steps down the hallway with his cigarette now hanging from his thin lips as he walked past the no-smoking signs which led outside the building.

As he finally let out the puff of smoke from his lungs a calm feeling dawned upon his previously dead-pan face, now taking a more relaxed look at his environment, he noticed an old homeless man by the corner across the street - He wore a multilayered grey coat which concealed his figure, giving him a rounded form, his bushy grey hair sticks out of his rounded form like spikes on a hedgehog.

Something about this old man attracted him to draw closer, it's like he saw someone lost in his own world and he wanted to get a glimpse of this strangeness due to curiosity and a bit of pity.

"Hey, bud you want a smoke, it's pretty cold out," Thomas said with a casual smile.

"sure... thanks" The old man lifted his head up with a warm smile.

As the Old man stretched out his arms to receive the cigarette, Thomas spotted a tattoo on the old man's wrists.

"Wow, that's pretty sick" Thomas exclaimed as he noticed the ink-work and vibrant colors on the tattoo, even though the old man's wrinkled skin wasn't in the best shape, the tattoo drawings beamed through like a rose surrounded by thorns.

The Old man smiled and exposed the remains of the tattoo that ran from his wrists towards his upper arms to Thomas's amazement.

"You know I drew this myself," Said the Old man with a wide smile that shined through his warm blue eyes.

"No way..." Thomas exclaimed as he touched and examined the tattoos.

"So you're some type of tattoo artist?" Thomas asked with growing excitement and intrigue.

"Yeah, I'm kind of an artist myself... been doodling since I was a kid" The Old man replied with a wise smile.

"So... why... I mean, you are pretty good.. Ahem... how did you... what happened," Thomas asked with a concerned look.

The old man smiled and pulled out a book from underneath a crate and handed it over to Thomas, his smile portrayed someone with a deep past.

Thomas opened the book and was amazed as his eyes got wider as he turned the pages, The book contained the most interesting art forms and sketches that he had seen in a very long time. the lines, shades, and forms. The mastery and vivid imagery he observed were truly astonishing.

"You are not supposed to be out here man, this is brilliant," Thomas said with the utmost respect.

"Hey Thomas!" one of Thomas's colleagues called out from across the street while pointing to his wristwatch signifying that classes have already started.

Thomas slowly handed back the book to the man with a sombre mood.

"You know what... you and I got to have a coffee sometime, you gonna be here tonight right?"

"Yeah, sure" The Old man laughed, "I've got nowhere else to go."

Image from pixabay
This is fiction session organized by @theinkwell

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