He was late again. What was she going to do with these feelings? What would it be like to not censor myself at all, she wondered as she plucked up a soft camel hair brush off his watercolor table. She imagined how he’d scream if he saw her using it to flit the thin patina of dust off the quiet black telephone. She watched the motes drift in the golden shaft of sun pouring through the skylight. What if his myriad rebuffs, hidden in shadows and turnings, were spotlighted like one of his young voluptuous models? What if she announced them each as duly noted? Was she willing to pay the price?
There was no changing the rules he lives by, that was clear. All she’d said last week was, “ I’m concerned about our relationship.” She only wanted to open up avenues, not make the going more awkward. But within moments everything had crashed and there’d been wreckage in the streets of communion and long after the initial commotion it seemed like horns were blowing and no matter what color the lights strung above the intersection, she could get nowhere.
“If you were more secure you wouldn't even come up with these ideas,” he said. “I don’t want to hear it. An artist must be free.”
And what must an artist’s wife be, she wondered? For days afterward she had been determined to be pleasant and stay in the moment, as he loved to say. But this afternoon, watching the clock mark hours he’d promised to her, she wanted the thoughts and feelings that rumbled disconnected within her to plug into her life. She wanted the surges of power that arced though her mind to light a path for her. She wanted the parts connected to the whole.
She heard his car turn in. She looked at the thin gold watch on her wrist and the way the sun lit the yellow hair on her trim tan arm. It was almost two o’clock and he’d asked her to meet him at noon.
He came in whistling, holding out a canvas. He brought the smell of a wild field and the oils of the drying pigments with him. Unbidden she felt a rush of tenderness for him; he really had been painting.
“I tried calling you but my cell wouldn’t work. Lookie here. The light was so fantastic in the canyon as the noon sun penetrated the forest. I had to capture it. Do you like it?” He held it out at the just the right angle for her to see what he had painted. Light streamed like liquid though a fragile canopy and tenderly lit the creek in Rocky Canyon.
Color by color, stroke by stroke, it was all of a piece. There’s no point in talking about us today, she thought. He’s so pleased with himself. He’ll accuse me of making a scene. “It’s beautiful,’ she said, barely able to trust her voice. “You really capture it. Your work gets better and better.”
He smiled. “You think so?”
“So what do you want to do now?” she asked, wondering if he could hear the little edges of her words as they caught on her throat.
“Why I must clean up. And then I’m hungry,” he said. “I’m quite hungry. You know how a day of plein air piques my appetite.”