Hours I have spent, carving slabs of paint onto canvas, willing the blank space to yield up what I desire, I crave. But nothing, nothing is what I had hoped. I cannot hold onto it. It all begins to cave in, crumble at my feet, submerge into the red that surrounds me.
I cannot breathe. I feel myself drowning in this desire to create something, anything that will speak to the dreams and vision I have. Hours after hour, day after day I stand here, planning, daubing this, dribbling that. This is craziness!
Maybe I am crazy? I look around me and all sense of place, of time fades into a wave of red, of carmine and vermillon. Walls slip into floors, floors seep out of windows. And where is the ceiling? I cannot look at my paintings – they float, dip and sway, dancing around the table like nymphs hearing lyrical notes that I cannot.
I must escape. Where is my hat, my scarf? I look around me and all begins to shift. I fall, I stumble, grabbing the table, knocking over tins of colors, brushes. At my feet they pool, an oozing glob of nothingness.
I fight for breath. I need air. I seek the window, open it and lean out into the late afternoon light. I breathe deeply and smell sunlight. I drink in the birdsong from the gardens below. I see my wife slowly picking tomatoes from her small patch of kitchen garden. She is humming. A simple task, plain yet necessary to life. Here is the answer to this craziness of mine.
I turn and look back into the studio, fearing what I will see. But all is right again, everything in its place. There is no mess on the floor. The mess was mine, in my head. I walk over to the canvas, still hearing my wife’s sing-song notes coming through the window.
I will paint her. I will paint her performing those simple tasks of everyday life. I pick up the brush and move the red, working it, filling the white space with warmth, with love. My shoulders ease, the wrist is loose and agile once again.
I have found harmony. I am working.
(original short fiction by Kelly M.)