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"And I suppose you know all about it?" asked Abby.

"No," admitted Jake, "but I have eyes. This painting is just like the others stacked in your room-- beautiful detail but no heart."

"I disagree," she fought, insistently. "There's so much emotion on that canvas, it practically reeks of it!"

"Reeks is a good word for it," said Jake.

"Just this evening, you said it looked fine," reminded Abby.

"No," contradicted Jake, "I said it looked 'realistic.' There's a difference."

"But, that's the point of this painting, to be realistic," she argued.

"If that's your only objective," replied Jake, "then you're failing to see the bigger picture. This painting tells me nothing I don't already know! What are you trying to say with this work?"

"It's a bird standing in water," replied Abby, dryly. "What do you want it to say?"

"When I look at a painting, it's got to speak to me," answered Jake, taking out the small sketchpad he carried in his back hip pocket.

He began to quickly sketch out a heron. Abby looked over his shoulder.

"See what I mean?" he asked, thrusting the pad in front of her face.

The detail was no where near Abby's painting, but the way in which Jake had placed the heron in the water, the expression in its eyes, the soulful way it was spreading its wings as if wishing to grab hold of the sky, all told a story that hers did not.

"I've seen few paint as realistically as you," said Jake, "but, you're just looking with your eyes. You've got to see with your heart, as well."

Somberly, Abby held on to the pad and sat down next to Terry on the couch. She hadn't believed Jake until she had seen his sketch. The difference was startling. He had done more with much less.

"Hey," said Terry, looking over at Jake's drawing, "that's not bad!"

"You're always hiding your sketches from me," said Abby. "Could I see them now? I want to know if this is just a fluke, or are you really as good as you say you are?"

"Let's go," said Jake, getting his jacket from Abby's room.

Abby and Terry followed Jake across the way to the little yellow house. The house was dark until Jake snapped on the overhead lights.

"They're in my room," he said, leading them to the master bedroom.

Jake turned on the lamp and went to the closet. He pulled out several pads of spent drawing paper, some bound with twine, others filled with loose pages.

"That's my entire life's work, right there," he said, glancing at Abby nervously. "Even the things I've never shown anyone."

"Jake, you don't have to show us everything," said Terry.

"No," replied Abby, in a sober voice. "I want to see it all."

"But," reasoned Terry, "that's like looking at someone's diary, isn't it? Surely, there's no reason for this!"

"I think there is," said Abby, taking the first of the drawing pads to a chair in the corner of the room where she could sit under the lamp.

Jake pulled out a carton of cigarettes and lit one up. Terry could see his hands trembling, as he struggled to hold the lighter still.

"You're going to extremes to prove a point, aren't you?" asked Terry, in a troubled voice.
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