In the afternoon
“So where’s the rest of it?”
“What do you mean, it’s a painting?”
“Where’s the rest of it?”
“I’m not finished yet.”
“I can see that.”
She wanted to scream and tear into the canvas with her nails. She had a short temper these days. Maybe it was that awful tea at breakfast. She just opened her mouth, slack jawed and breathed. Swallowed hard.
“Wash it out. Or just go Jackson Pollock all over it.”
Needle stare back. Another swallow. “Right, I didn’t put the background in first.”
“You didn’t put anything in first.”
“Yes, I …” Lips pursed fish like. She could just go. “Who, or how ah…”
“I didn’t put the background in yet.”
“Right.” She glanced over her right shoulder, deeply. Squinting, just a little.
“Ok. Keep working. Today, get it in today.”
“I will.” What’s the use of raising my chin if in raising it I bite my lip? The colors weren’t right, the light changed every millisecond and I’m sweating sheets. Lucky not to get the canvas wet. I should move closer to the ocean.
“Who’s coming tonight?” Her mother was already walking away, yellow dress, unwrinkled, tight bun of mossy hair. “Mom, is Dad coming for dinner?”
Leather spinning on sand, crunching sounds. Drifting dust. “Yes, I think so.”
Water passed between them. The temperature dropped two degrees and the crunching sound grew more pleasant and nostalgic. Breathing happened.