Painting Answers

She is seventeen now and her hair is strikingly blue. She wears two orange clips behind her ears that clash with her piercing locks and pale skin. Her gentle blue eyes are tired and moist. She is sitting on a cold metal stool, gazing at her painting, her painting staring back at her. With every breath, she inhales the earthly scents of her studio: the smell of rich wet clay, wooden colored pencils and bitter oil paints, overlapping each other to create soothing chaos. However, the smell she has always known as creativity has become restrictive, and recently breathing it in builds tension in her shoulders rather than freedom. When she rolls up her sleeves, bold black ink is revealed in the shape of a distorted puzzle piece on her forearm.

Eight months spent on the same silhouette of the boy that she loved. Loves. She is unable to accept job opportunities that she used to dream of, fixated only on the outlines and shadows of a person who she spent the last two years with. She can’t seem to ignore her painting until it gives her the answers she needs. Why did he leave? Why without warning? Where is he now? Did he really love her? Does he still? The painting is supposed to be an algorithm that answers these questions, just as her paintings always do. Why is she in the studio at all if her painting’s completion wouldn’t offer her un-blurred explanations. Now she is pressing her palm into her malnourished cheek and letting a tear roll down the side of her hand. Tears don’t belong in the studio, but here they are, dancing freely down onto the silhouette. 

I wish I could tell her why I left. Or at least tell her that it has nothing to do with how much I loved her. Love her. I plan on going back to her as soon as I can figure out a way to protect myself from her brother. For now, his threats and intimidation game blocks the door between me and her, and I never even got to say goodbye. All I can do now is picture her, brush in hand, waiting for the answers I was always able to provide. He threatens to hurt her when I threaten to stay, so I had to vanish. Poor Ruby, I just wish I could make her put the brush down. 

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