Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wet Paint

Painting by Naza

Wet Paint

Darkness succumbs to light, her eyes open slowly trying to filter the morning. The sheets wrapping her body are course on her skin, unlike the bed in her room. Reaching a hand across the mattress, she finds an already cool depression. Heart rate rising, her eyes search the room. By the window, a man sits on a wood stool in front of an easel. His hair is pulled back in a pony tail that reaches the middle of his bare back. Following the firm contours of his shoulders down the hard ridges of his spine, she realises he is naked.

She admires him, letting memories of the previous night settle in the crease of her smile. Warmth spreads through out her body, but she remains silent enjoying the moment.

When she purchased the house, Sarah knew it needed work. The previous owners for some reason, unknown to her, had painted the master bedroom olive with mustard trim. While this may work in some rooms, it gave the bedroom an odd contrast that turned her stomach. She had no one to share the decisions with, so she could dream it to whatever she desired.

It was not that she would have minded having someone to help make the decisions, even argue with before they came to compromise. She had dated several men, off and on, since leaving college five years ago. One of them, Jeff, had even lasted six months, move in together and seemed to be headed in a more serious direction, when she found a pair of lace underwear in the wash that was not hers.

"What do you expect. You are never here when I need you. When you are here, you are answering phone calls. Your life is your work Sarah," his words were an open wound that continued to ooze on lonely nights.

What made it hurt all the more was that it was true. All her relationships ended in homicide, evidence pointing a nasty finger at her job.

Growing up with a single mother, Sarah had watched her move slave away in dead end jobs just to keep food on their table. There were many nights they ate peanut butter crackers washed down with water. Her mother, when not working, tried to find men to help care for them. They were all dead beats. Many nights she lay on her bed, the grunts of their rutting creeping through the walls. Those were good nights. Others she hid her head under the pillow to block out her mother's screams or the wet sound of flesh on flesh that ended in deep purple bruises at the breakfast table.

Her mother died, Sarah's second year of community college. Sarah came home from a night class to find her in the bathroom beside an empty pill bottle. Life had become too much and Sarah determined that would never be her. She transferred to a four year college, maximizing student loans and assistance she received for children without families.

Upon graduating she began working for a large financial services company and found that she could sell money better than most. She had a way with customers, that eluded her completely in her personal life. She would not trust her stability to someone else, nor give up her successful career for something as trivial as love. She made enough to live comfortably and now own her own home, with one very ugly bedroom.

Sarah asked several of her mortgage customers about painters that had they used to fix up their homes. Mrs Florenso, who Sarah had helped purchase a ten thousand square foot home in a gated community, recommended Jason Dail.

"He is your typical house painter," Mrs. Florenso explained, "He is a real painter, who also happens to paint homes. He is not cheap, but he paints in ways that brings rooms alive."

Intrigued, Sarah called him, arranging for him to meet her at the new home and look at the room.

"Good morning," Jason's voice, thick as honey, spills over his shoulder as he remains focused on the canvas before him.

Sarah continues to watch as he adds one more touch with a brush then stands, turning to her, comfortable in his nakedness. She takes him all in, as he crosses the room, feet padding softly on the hard wood floors. He sits on the edge of the bed, raising a hand to her face in the silence.

His fingers trace the line where her hair meets her forehead, down across the ridge of her eyes, along her lips. Hardened ridges of paint, leavings of his morning, give texture as it glides along, measuring her. She never leaves his eyes.

"Come, you must see what I have been working on," gentle but firm, he pulls her from the bed, exposing her own nakedness.

Sarah follows willingly, the floor cool on the pads of her feet, raising goose flesh up the backs of her legs. Standing her in front of the canvas, Jason wraps her body, from behind, in his arms. Staring at the painting, she feels the world grow small, tightening around her. Suddenly uncomfortable, she tries to breathe but finds herself unable to force even a gasp, as darkness once more over takes the day.

To be continued....

Brian Miller

Posted over on his site Way Station One
Listed as #23 over on Magpie Tales 78

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