He painted me in shades of green, with a scatter of golden frosting, since “I lit up the room.” At that moment, it was his face, not mine, that set the studio aglow. It was a gloomy afternoon, the sky threatening to heave its clouded sadness from the sky, yet inside it was luminous.
I wanted to hug him, kiss him, tell him how much he meant to me. Instead, all I did was snort. “Such a sap.” I hurt him, in that moment. I watched his romantic composure crumble like sharp cheddar on the chopping block. One second he was smiling, and the next, his quivering hands sent him tumbling off the chair. Like jelly.
He faced the wall, stoic and still. I almost called out to apologize. My words failed me then. He turned to me, forced a smile. “Your words hurt, but you love me. I just need to find a way to make you say it, too.”
It was the last time I saw him. Alive.
My phone rang the next day. Tuesday. 4 p.m. Sunny skies with a gentle southwesterly wind. Caller ID showed Aiden’s studio logo. Paint palette with a painting rabbit. I jumped up, shy baby smiles morphing my face. This was my chance. My time to reveal what my hard exterior had hid for so long.
“Aiden? I’m so glad you called. Would you like to meet at the cafe?”
“Aiden?” The line was muffled, static. Then, clear and distinct, I heard sirens.
Caller ID lied.
They pried his car apart with the jaws of life. All I could do was watch the colours paint themselves in swirls of red and black. The car put up a good fight, but the pole and pavement fought harder.
Fifth and Magnolia. An intersection I have never crossed since that day. Now, I stand at the corner, watching the lights change. The left pole along Magnolia reveals a scar, a dent. A memory. An afternoon, two years ago, when Aiden left this world.
A southwesterly wind sweeps by, swishing my tumbling waves, caressing my cheek. I smell acrylic paints. Canvas. Aiden. He’s here around me, helping me fit the pieces back together. I mouth those three little words. I hear his voice on the wind, “Ava, I love you, too.”
Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on Flash Mob: