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Paint Me a Picture
Your actions are sporadic, like lightning; your body reacts before your mind and heart can catch up. You pace before the river's banks, your hands clenched deep in the pockets of your jeans, and you glare at the trees as if they are to blame for all your misfortunes. You take out your anger on a beaten gray stone that is unlucky enough to be at your feet. You pelt it at the river, and it hits the water hard. You can't help but grin ever so slightly, feeling liberation and power for a moment, but it doesn't take long before your face falls. You stop in your tracks before kicking at another unfortunate pebble and going to sit on the beaten bench, the one a few feet from the edge of the water.
I emerge from my hiding spot behind the oak tree and tiptoe slowly across the weathered rocks, and when I reach the bench, I sit down next to you. I am tentative. You know I'm there, but you don't acknowledge me. Instead, you stare pointedly and petulantly in the opposite direction. I sigh and stretch my legs out, basking in the little sun that the sky has to offer and thinking of how I should voice my question. You're breathing heavily, trying to control your anger, trying to hide it from me, but don't you know that I'm painfully aware it exists? I don't walk around the earth with my eyes closed. I feel things full force and notice everything. Even the frozen rabbit near the river can't hide. He's very much like you, in fact. He thinks if he stands still enough, I won't give him a second glance.
No, you can't hide from me. I won't give it a rest. I don't think I even could, if I wanted to.
I can tell that you want to stand up and leave and not look back, but you're anchored to your seat. You're clearly angry, but you're curious as well. You're not going to flee before I state my purpose.
I watch you carefully. I usually don't miss a thing, but something about you is unreadable. I can see your emotions plainly on your face, but I can't understand them completely. There's this mental block of yours that won't let me in, even though it knows a storm is coming and I'll get soaked.
Are you just being selfish? Are you trying to protect me? I wish I knew. Won't you paint me a picture?
I want to ask this, I really do, but I'm afraid. What if the picture isn't a pretty one? What if it's full of inky blacks and gray swirls and reds the color of blood? I don't want to see another picture like that; I've seen enough of them.
But still, won't you let me in? This fence around you is doing nothing good for either of us, I know. I need to see the truth, to understand it. Otherwise, there's just indecision. I can't deal with that. I need an exact answer, a peaceful number, not one of those nasty ones that turn into never-ending decimals if looked at more closely.
I need clarity, don't you see? I'm sick of guessing, of putting myself out completely with no promise of results. I need a reason to keep trying.
You're now staring, unseeing, over the river. You stand abruptly and walk to the edge; the rabbit scampers away in fear. I follow, unafraid. You're not scary, not to me. I have reason to believe that your fa'ade is just that. You gave me those reasons, whether you wanted to or not.
I stand in front of you and shake your shoulders, my voice rising to a desperate shout as I finally let my question loose.
At first you just stand there, not looking me in the eye, but something seems to break in you, and I know you're listening.
Then, slowly, you take out your canvas and brushes, and I stand very still as you paint me a picture.