written November 11, 1995
"Hey my friend, it seems your eyes are troubled,"
The insightful lyrics of Dave Matthews began swimming out of the CD player that her friend Becky always kept in the studio. When the music started all things began to melt and meld together. Her mind would go off on its tangents, run with the tunes, the lyrics, and the paint; the strokes and dabs and squishes she would use in her attempt to relate these feelings, the ones that were constantly in her head these days.
"Care to share your time with me"
She chose deep reds this time, from bloody plum to sunset orange. They were synonymous with how her insides were feeling. Right, don't I wish he were here, right now, sharing his time with me. The velvet purple squirmed out onto the glass and it shone like a fat, gristly worm. The smell of oil paints, thick and heavy, wafted up to reach her nostrils, like mother's milk. She picked up a rag to help her grip the top of the turpentine can, frustrated at its being stuck. The next line made her chuckle and she grimaced as she twisted off the top,
"See you and me have a better time than most,"
Jeff was her best friend and after his big brother graduated last year, and after adopting her as his little sister, she was left feeling his loss, sometimes without that strong one to call on and see whenever she needed anything. When Jeff came to school it was her responsibility to now take him under her wing, get him used to his new life. After spending almost every day together rollerblading, talking, doing stupid things, she now valued their relationship as one that was a part of who she was. The gessoed canvas was huge and its reflected light mirrored the vast emptiness she would periodically feel during moments when she thought about the pointless desperation she felt when he wasn't with her. When she reached for her palette the angry reds and ugly, deep purples were the colors of her anger at feeling the right to be complete, happy with him. With HIM. God damn his girlfriend of three years. She scooped up the dripping, oozy, greasy red with the palette knife and melded it onto the canvas.
"Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters and hurts not much when you're around." See Jeff, see. When they talked about his girlfriend he always seemed complacent, happy... but. He had taken two years off after high school to play baseball, meaning the two of them hadn't been together every day for two years. He always would say he'd marry her unless he met someone else. Sure there was the "unless" but would he really allow himself to look? The turpentine thinned the red that she spread all around the ground with drippy, fat strokes. As the red oozed down the canvas an image of rainy day windowpanes came to mind. Sad.
"And if you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest." Could this song be written for anyone but them right now? White streaks of paint, she silhouetted the bumpy purple. Open your eyes and don't take me for granted! I'm not your convenience girlfriend! The purple curled around the edge of the canvas like her heart curling into the fetal position inside her chest. I don't want to hurt what we have right now. It's all I can get. Patience was always something she needed to work on. They still had two years together. That made her smile; an uplifting sweep of cinnamon red with a sharp drop off. She took her hand and placed it on the top of the canvas then let it slid down.
"Turns out not where but what you think that really matters, we'll make the best of what's around."