He wakes up in caverns formed from hardened acrylic paint covering used-up palettes. He breathes in cerulean blue and burnt sienna, and rubs bits of sponge from his eyes. The sunlight leads him to believe it’s almost nine. He’s spent the night recreating all the places he saw her and all the places he wants to fly away.
He stares at the newest piece: a grey- and blue-covered canvas dotted with rainbow. He smells his memories when he looks at it; he smells rain. He sits up straight and lets the paintbrushes roll to the floor with a wooden clang. He stares at the 24x36 thunderstorm with wrinkles in his forehead and swallows hard.
Suddenly the frustration of imperfection (but really not finding her in paint again) hits him and he flings the cup of stagnant, black water at the blue. It sprays across the cotton duck sheet and the paint calmly runs to hardwood already sprayed with old color. He feels sorry for himself before he rises to stare out the window at the city that isn’t palm trees by the sea.
He should have run away—run away to summer and away from all the winters he let flip like blizzards around his heart. She’s the one who grew cold with the seasons. He’s the one who never bought a ticket out of there.
He’s got a pocketful of acrylic and nowhere to put it these days; his canvas is too full and she’s never coming back.
He curses to himself and runs fingers through his hair. Time to suck it up for another day. He’ll brush his teeth, take a shower, and grab his coat before he stumbles out of his studio to take photographs for the magazine downtown. Later he’ll hit a bar, and then return to splatter paint across another canvas because it’s the only way he feels close and far away from her.
Yet, all he wants is to see her smile again because when she smiled he never painted at night; he never stayed awake to look for thunderstorms and memories.
He’ll dream of summer and palm trees, smell yellow ochre, and wake to cobalt blues.
[I just miss you.]
J.C.D Kerwin edits a magazine by day and writes fiction by night. Her work has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Maudlin House, the Piker Press, and several other publications. Visit http://jcdkerwin.com for more.