It’s again one of those days, when all he wanted to do was curl up in his bed and seek refuge in the layered cocoon of his blankets. Escape and protection—from his own screaming thoughts—that’s all he wanted. Solitude didn’t give him these. The pain’s still sharp and she’s still gone, so he took the edge off by fighting it with his only weapon: painting.
He wielded his paintbrush like a sword and battled his inner demons with the splotches of paint on canvas. Blue like the cloudless summer sky—it warded off his darkest nightmares. Yellow like fragments of sunlight through a tree’s foliage—it drove away the gloom in his heart. Pink, red, orange, and green, like candies in a gumball machine from his childhood—they lifted his spirits up.
Paintings were created, but really, what do these things give him? Temporary paradise. Fleeting illusions. When he put the brush down, reality resurfaced—he’s back in his room, alone, longing for her touch.
So he stopped painting for a while, desperate for another escape. He must be desperate because he’s trying all these crazy things that people believe could grant his heart’s desire. Every night he waited for 11:11 and wishes for her to come home. Every day he went to the town square and hurled every coin—all right, not just coins, even bills and cigarette packs and pens and calling cards—into the wishing fountain. Blew fallen eyelashes, whispered at shooting stars…you name them, he’d done all of them. Then dusk would come, and he would want to lie in bed and get away as far from today as possible.
One day, when he’s still walking outside and the sun’s about to sink, he discovered a new way of painting—a new way to get her back. No need for canvas or brushes or gouaches. Just his senses. When he looked down and noticed the asphalt and earth leading home, he saw the brownness of her eyes. When the wind caressed his face and the sunset basked him in a strawberry redness, he felt the softness of her kiss. When he finally reached home at night and stared up at the sky, he saw her black hair, strewn with shining clips that were the stars. The world’s a portrait of her. She’s nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
He met her personally again on that same day. Beautiful but broken. She didn’t change from their last encounter, and this crumbled his newfound art technique to dust. She’s immobile, still standing where she requested to be left. Cold and upright, reaching up to catch the moonlight. The dried daisies at her feet were skewered by unwanted weeds. She’s gray and weathered, edges chipping off. The epitaph on her face was nowhere near readable now, but on her chest was that deep carving of cross and three letters—R.I.P.
“Do you rest in peace?” He asked the gravestone. “I don’t. Because you won’t let me.”
He stormed into the house because it’s again one of those days, when all he wanted to do was curl up in his bed and seek refuge in the layered cocoon of his blankets.
The clock ticked 11:11. Instinctively, he wished for her.