Payne's Grey

I'm pacing anxiously past each aisle, pausing before the Copic pens and clutching my bag close to me. I check my watch. Wince at the viscous time and peer out the window, poking my face from behind the carousel of merchandise, but nothing happens. Counting Crows is playing on the loudspeaker ("If I knew Picasso, I would buy myself a grey guitar and play") and I'm surrounded by the dulled pastels and inky dark colors in the art store. An attendant asks me if I need help finding anything. I stand there and pretend to examine some colored pencils.

Without warning, a hand lights on my shoulder: a brief touch and a breathy laugh from behind me. I turn around and all I notice at first is her scarf, a diaphanous navy piece of fabric draped loosely around her neck.

She clutches a bottle of acrylic ink. "Payne's grey," she tells me. "It's my favorite color because it looks black, but really it’s kinda blue and grey."

The stereo blares. "We all want something beautiful; man, I wish I was beautiful."

Her eyes dart to my hands. I've been painting recently and they're tinged black and blue, smeared a deep cobalt. "When I'm older, I'll get pigment stains tattooed on my hands," she murmurs. "To look like I've just been painting."

I glance at her pale hands. "That's gonna hurt," I say, but I pause. "Sounds pretty rad, though."

She nods vigorously.

I can remember that one of our conversations she turned into art. Actually, it was a series of emails. I sent her so many messages and two days later, when I saw her, she had drawings of me in her calendar.

(She keeps quite the calendar. Fills it in each day. Gorgeous colors and line work and shapes and poetry, shoved into the space of 24 hours, which is hardly over two or three square inches, see. Not much space for not much time, but she can fit in the smallest of drawings – flowing expanses that move on from day to day or compact, contorted figures and words that are boxed inside one timeframe.)

Delicate birds were inked in around gears and locks and cages, supplemented with precise letters about how she found a bird yesterday.

(I'm the bird.)

(She’s the girl with the jet black hair and the vespine frame and the sing-song voice and the key.)

I tell myself to remember her favorite color.

Her eyes are gleaming and her lips are pulled back into a wide grin. She's handing me the bottle and leading me wordlessly to the rack of acrylic inks. I pick out two more to buy, even though they're not as lovely as Payne's grey.

We keep making plans we’ll never realize to get together and paint.

OneVoice   OneVoice wrote
on 12/13/2015 11:30:40 PM
This piece pulses with 'movement'... guided by the question - 'what's next'. Nicely done done

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writing hkcountryman
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Rating: 10.0/10