Abstract, I thought. Abstract is beautiful.
Any coherent thoughts barely crossed my mind as I gazed down at her, her brown locks tumbling down her shoulders in soft waves and falling back as she tipped her head up to smile at me. The sunlight did wonders to her emerald green eyes, lighting them up as if they had a life of their own- like a marble held against a bright beam of light. The tiny specks of light green in her eyes seemed to dance wildly, as wild as a summer breeze, as wild as her.
When I said so, she laughed, the sound whistling in the wind like the scent of rain. It startled me as I cocked my head to the side and a faint smile played on my lips.
“I hope you don’t like colouring within the lines so much, then,” she said, laughter in her voice.
I had no idea what that meant. Tipping my head up to the sky, I did what I love to do. Observe the sky. Today it was gray and stormy, the way I like it best. Most people like blue skies and puffy clouds- and while I get the appeal of that- I always feel more alive when I see gray, stormy clouds, lightning and the smell of damp earth in the air.
“Colouring within the lines?” I inquired.
She shrugged. “I always believe everyone has their own blank canvas, you know?” she explained, a bit shy at first. “Every time you meet someone new, you paint on their canvas and they paint on yours. It’s up to you to make your art on their canvas as dazzling as you want. Everything you say, every time you laugh, touch, stare- you create an impression. And that’s your drawing on their canvas.”
I was staring at her now, unable to comprehend the beauty in her words. Blushing under my gaze, she looked away. I looked away too, but it was as if my body rebelled because, before I knew it, my hand strayed across the distance between us and delicately held hers. She was still not looking at me but her fingers pressed down between mine and we were holding hands. Had that electric, tingling sensation always been inside of them?
When I didn’t- couldn’t- say anything, she continued. “You said I have a wildness in me,” I could hear the soft smile in her voice. “Well, wouldn’t that be colouring outside the lines? So, I hope you still like your canvas even though it’s… messy.”
Finally finding my voice, I looked at her, slowly smiling. “When you look at a kid’s colouring book, you might find the perfect, neat picture more appealing but it is the messy picture in which the colouring is outside the lines that evokes the warm and fuzzy feelings inside you.” I winked at her. “It’s wild, but it’s beautiful.”
She stared at me, surprised by my sudden outburst. Then throwing her head back, she laughed. Lightening cracked overhead and the smell of ozone wafted in the air and that’s when I realized- that’s how she was. The moment when I first saw her, running up to me with her messy hair, tripping over air and unable to speak because of her shyness until someone practically coaxed the words out of her like honey from a jar. And, man, are those words like honey.
She wasn’t someone who painted outside the lines, she was the paint herself which spread everywhere on the blank paper, and onto my life- without any boundaries or fences.
We’ve known each other our whole lives, so why was this the first time I felt like I really knew her? It was like knowing what the colour Orange looks like but then knowing that it is the combination of Yellow and Red that makes Orange.
A wind blew across as I tugged her closer. “So I’ve been painting on your canvas ever since we were kids?”
“What have I painted, then?”
She grinned as if sharing a private joke with herself. “The picture used to be clearer back when we were kids but then, I don’t know, the more we talked, the more intense it got, more detailed, complicated, colourful, complex.” She suddenly looked at me and I felt the breath catch in my throat. “More abstract.”
I laughed, a little nervous. “Um, okay?” I had no idea what I was supposed to make of that.
“You don’t get it,” she insisted. Looking away, she murmured softly, “Abstract is beautiful.”
And it is, I thought as I looked out of the window years later. Time has passed and our canvasses are so much more darker, so much more intense, colourful and broken but just as beautiful as the Summer day we first met. We are bent, broken and laughing and she is just as wild and I am just as abstract.
And we are just as beautiful.
So one night I was lying on my bed, unable to sleep, and this scene just played in my mind and I acted it out- complete with dialogue- in my head and I liked the whole concept of art on the canvas as an impression of the person so much that I just had to write it.