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Paint Me Like One of Your Spanish Girls
I shift slightly, trying to stretch my stiff limbs without moving too much. But the small movement does not escape his notice.
“Stay still!” Pedro commands. His eyebrows are furrowed in concentration, his hands expertly wielding a paintbrush. I fight off a smile, I know he won’t be satisfied until he achieves perfection. Pedro tries again, gingerly painting minuscule strokes but only grows more exasperated.
“It’s not the right color! Why is it always the wrong color?” Pedro asks himself. ”What isn’t the right color Pedro?” I inquire. He turns to look at me at the sound of my voice, the irritation softening slightly.
“You are too vibrant, the colors. Everything I paint seems drab and dull in comparison. I paint your brilliant auburn hair a corroded rusty red; your pale green eyes are more the color of algae in the painting than the color of tender spring shoots. It’s just not right!” he exclaims frustrated all over again, “It is impossible to capture…” Pedro smiles suddenly, and gives me a sly wink.
“But then again, that is what I love about you, you’re so free. A bird in a cage is not half as beautiful as the one flying above, so it is with the painting and you,” he says. I blush, my face turning a dark shade of red. How is he so charming all the time?
“Pedro!” I protest, “What if my mother should hear you speaking thus to me?” He raises an eyebrow at me. ”Are you afraid to admit to your mother that you love me, my dear Calisto? Or are you afraid that she will not let you see me again in which case I am justified in kidnapping you?” Pedro teases mockingly.
He sets down the paintbrush and comes to me while I sit up from my modeling position. One of the flowers my sister braided into my hair comes loose and falls to the ground. Pedro picks it up and offers it back to me. ”A flower for my lady,” he says, “Lilac, it compliments your dress.”
I look down and realize he’s right. The floor length silk gown is a deep violet hue, draping delicately over my frame. Pedro fingers the fabric, watching how it captures the light, musing over how to paint such an effect. Ever the artist, that is precisely why I love Pedro. I am glad that I am the least wealthy among all the families here, it is acceptable for me to marry Pedro. And he does not care for my money in any case. His next comment reminds me however that he still has to earn a living.
“I must leave for Madrid now, I don’t know when I can return here,” he sighs regretfully. Pedro pushes my hair back behind my ear to see my face better. My face must have looked very put out because he laughed. ”Must you go so soon Pedro?” I ask. ”I must go Calisto, I am sorry,” he apologizes. Pedro leans down to kiss me, lingering for several moments before standing to leave. I hold onto his hand but he is too tall and I am forced to let go.
“Pedro!” I call and he turns towards me in the doorway.
“Hurry back to me,” I whisper.