And he stared. He looked and couldn’t turn away. In the distance no music played. It seemed that nothing existed beyond. It was just him.

He sat. He waited. He looked. He didn’t listen, because he knew there was no sound. There was nothing to hear, because it was only him.

He stared back. Eyes, starring back at him from the mirror. His own eyes. Himself, but a self he didn’t recognise. It was only him, but he wasn’t there.

The painting before him stood still. It waited and looked. It stared back at him. He starred back at himself. The surrealist portrait was hung on the wall in front of him, waiting, but not listening, for how could a painting listen? It was alone.

It was him, but not him, for it was a painting, a reflection, that stared back. He recognised brief outlines of the portrait before him, but he didn’t know it. There was something missing. Something wasn’t there.

But more existed in that painting, that reflection, hung before him, staring, but not listening, than existed within himself, alone, outside the painting. There was so much more, because it wasn’t him and he couldn’t see any of himself in that reflection. It was surreal. It was different, because it was the same, but it wasn’t him. It wasn’t him, because it was everything he wanted to be. But he was alone. It was only him.

Yet it wasn’t him. It was a reflection. It was a painting of someone else.

He sat back, reclined, but didn’t relax, didn’t listen, didn’t hear that there was something to listen to in the beyond. For how could a painting hear? A reflection. He could not hear because he was the shadow of a painting, alone. He was, at once, both the reflection and himself.

He stared and stared back. The painting stared back and saw in his eyes a longing. Desire filled the eyes of the reflection before him and the portrait laughed. He mocked and ridiculed the shadow of a man before him, because he didn’t have to listen. The painting didn’t have to listen, because he couldn’t.

The man stared back at his reflection. He couldn’t turn away. He looked and hated everything he saw, because now he could hear. He listened to the sounds of reality behind the door which shut him off from the world. Through the door he heard the sound of people who hadn’t realised yet that it was all a joke.

He sat. He stared. He listened. He hated. He was alone. It was only him. Him and his reflection, ridiculing him. His portrait mocking him, because it wasn’t him. A reflection. A portrait. A soul living in the beyond, away from the sound. The joke of reality.