The Painter.


He is erratic, clumpsy, shy, but none of that is capable of hiding his light. He is an artist, with a bold mind. He would draw day and night, from the perching fly to the moving bus; the high and mighty, to the poor in the creeks. He never speaks, atleast I have never seen him do so. Who is he? Does he ever talk? Is he a student? What does he study? This and many more have plagued my mind all this time but I have not found the courage to go over to ask. Maybe i’ll ask him today…

I am at the cake shop now, which is just a glance away from the underground staircase where he normally sits with his canvas and brushes but I don’t see him there. I turn the bottle cover of my coke nervously with unsteady sweaty hands, stuffing my mouth with even more chocolate cake from the saucer in front of me with my other hand, as my eyes dart around, searching for him. I am high on about half a dozen feelings: happy that he is not around to caution my sugar- eating habit with his gentle scolding eyes, sad that he is not around to spare me his distracted yet disarming smile when I need it most, angry that I missed the evening performance at the underground theatre because Mimi, my roommate, had locked me out while making out with her boyfriend, confused at…

Now, he shows up and I banish every other thought to concentrate on him. He is wearing a denim short, a white cashmere top plastered with a platter of colours, and a bowler hat. He sways his hips deliciously, canvas under one arm, a bag in the other swaying hand, and his red signature earpiece dangling down the length of his broad chest to the pocket in his shorts. He stares fixedly at the ground until he is at the first step leading to the underground theatre. He stops now, and settles down. I watch him keenly, as I have done for the past one week since I first sighted him doing a painting of Martin Luther King Junior. What struck me was not the object of the painting, or how indeed beautiful the painting was, but his poise and concentration which was akin to a man tending to his woman lover with expected calm, adoration and reverence. Oh, what gentle lover he would be…

I begin to wonder what it would feel like if he held me upclose like he did his canvas, with his fingers sketching designs of forbidden emotions within me. I stir where I am sitting as I notice his eyes on me. Is he looking at me, or through me, beside or behind? I can’t really tell. Oh no, he is smiling now… at me? I wish he would not look like that, or smile like that. Does he know I am in love with him? Is he perhaps in love with me too? My heart quickens, and my throat dries. It’s amazing how he always has that effect on me from a distance. His gaze returns to rest on his canvas again, and I wish it would return to me. I want to go over to him and just watch him draw, I want to fill my nostrils with all the paint chemicals so that I may never forget him even as I breathe, I want to listen to the same songs he listens to so maybe I can smile brightly like he always does. It’s beautiful, the way he makes me feel. I make up my mind at once that I must know his name, and what’s more, let him know how much he inspires me.

In the quick tick of a few seconds, ‘m up on my feet and right in front of him, but seeing his eyes on nothing but the canvas before him, I feel like an intruder and rather than perch beside him, I walk straight past him and head to the hostel instead. ‘Coward!!’ I curse my inner mind, as I drag myself idly through the chilly night. I have thoroughly fallen in love with a shy mute painter, and it can’t be helped, at least not today. Maybe tomorrow, i’ll do something about it…


© The Short Black Girl, 2015.


6 thoughts on “The Painter.

  1. It happens. Waiting for the one to start… tomorrow when you’re ready he will be absent. The day after tomorrow you’ll see him… you won’t be ready. That’s the way the story goes… Endless

    Liked by 2 people

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