All That Matters

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His easel is constructed of light maple wood, contrasting his set of dark paint brushes. His jaw is strong, his face beautiful though he doesn’t know it. I know the look in his eyes, he has given it to me before but now it is focused on the canvas in front of him. That look of pure love and concentration, as though nothing else in the world matters quite as much as the way his paint brush caresses the stark white canvas. His gaze lifts and meets my eyes and a slight smile spreads across his face then with a glint in his eyes he returns to his art. I’m leaning against the wall on the opposite side of his loft. My head against the red wall, I’m wearing a pale blue sweater made of gauze that barely covers my legs. I can feel his brush painting me. It used to feel like a critique but now it feels so natural. The walls of his loft are filled with sketches, paintings and photographs. Some are of me, laughing by the ocean or picking flowers. The one thing that is striking about each picture is the mess of long blonde hair. Always loose and blowing in the wind. He used to tell me it was like an angles breath on a cold day. I have watched him recreate me on a canvas and he gets this look about him when he comes to my hair. Tracing the long strands with such precision and care. I remember the way he’d tangle his fingers in it, being sure not to hurt me, he’d play with it well we lay under the stars. Call me his fairy tale princess. Now my hair is darker, always straight and perfect every day. I don’t want it this way, but there is nothing I can do about it. It’s not mine, its borrowed. I know he still loves me and this hasn’t altered it. I should be worried about more serious things, like the next time I go in for chemo or how I’m going to cope when I finally come to terms with my diagnosis. I only have a few months to live at best they say, and all I can think about is how he will never draw my hair again. They told me everyone deals with cancer differently but this can’t be normal. He doesn’t draw me on the beach or photograph me running through the forest anymore. Mostly he paints me pictures of the world that I am missing so much of now. A hospital bed does not provide a suitable back drop for portraits. Today is a good day, I made it to his car and up the stairs to his flat without much struggle. It could be the last day I leave the hospital bed, and all I can think about is my stupid, stupid hair. He looks up again with the same crooked smile, comes over and kneels beside me propping his canvas up so I can see. My breath intakes raggedly as I see what he’s painted. Its a close up on my face. Eyes bright cheek bones sharp. Its so close that you can’t see where my hair should be. He whispers in my ear.
“This is all that matters. Whats in here, behind these amazing eyes.” He says touching my forehead. And I believe him.





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