Word Play: Empty

Word of the Day: Empty

It was a winter Saturday afternoon and Sarah was getting ready to do what she always did on her days off.. paint.  She set up her old, wooden easel.  It was a great junk store find this past summer.  Her ex-boyfriend had bought it for her.  She may not have held onto him for long, but she hoped to hold onto the easel forever.  She rummaged under the bed for the old briefcase that held her paints.  Another junk store find.  It held all of her paints and brushes perfectly, even latching closed to prevent them all from tumbling out.  She propped the briefcase on the table and opened it, inhaling deeply.  She loved the smell of the musty, wooden case and the paints.. acrylics, oils and watercolors.  She fingered the various tubes and decided to go for the watercolors.  She still wasn’t sure what she was going to paint, so she got out her basic colors: primaries and a few oddballs she had premixed.

She used an old, broken china plate as a paint palette.  She had used her dremmel tool to grind the edges so that she wouldn’t cut herself.  Sarah took delight in refurnishing the old and broken into new, wonderful things.  That’s probably why she went through boyfriends more quickly than she did paintbrushes.  She seemed to gravitate towards the old or “broken” people to try and remodel them.

Sarah sighed and set her pad of paper on the easel.  She was using watercolors today so she set to preparing her paper.  Her thoughts began to wander back to her various ex-boyfriends. The latest one, Tom, was a fairly nice fellow.. if you overlooked his drunken behavior and sloppy hygiene habits.  Sarah thought that if only Tom could see the wonders of living then he would embrace life and put aside his foolish habits.  It didn’t work.

Sarah looked back at her blank paper.  Odd.  She usually started painting when her mind was off daydreaming about what not.  It was going to be one of those days.  She didn’t like to force her muse to work, it felt.. fake.  But she liked the routine of painting every Saturday.  She started to dabble her paintbrush in a few of the paints and held it an inch or so from the paper, waiting for a spark to ignite her imagination.  Nothing.

She flopped her hand down to her side and turned her head around the room.  Her eyes fell on all the trinkets and projects around the room.  The broken mirror she turned into a mosaic picture frame.. that held a picture of her and her best friend.  The dream catcher she made out of a couple of pieces of broken jewelry that now hung over her bed.  She had to admit, she hadn’t been having any bad dreams.  Come to think of it, she hadn’t been having any dreams lately.  Her eyes scanned the room and then returned back to the canvas.  Empty.  It was still empty.  The room was full of finished projects that engaged her senses and emotions but this canvas.. it was depleting her.

She sat in the old, wooden chair next to the easel and put her chin in her hands.  Her apron felt cold to the touch, it’s oilcloth splotched with years of paint stains.  It was still pretty early in the afternoon, but when the muse doesn’t come calling.. it’s time to find ways to call the muse.  Sarah got up and headed out to the kitchen.  She started looking around for the various bottles of wine that she kept around when friends came calling.  She liked to use the empty bottles to make fun things like nite lights and what not, so why not help that process along a little?  She could use another empty bottle to start another project.  Sarah got an old wine glass down from the cupboard and poured herself a glass of rose red wine.  She felt her body relax and her mind stopped wandering on about her past.  She stopped fretting about painting as if it were just another project to finish.  She just enjoyed the wine, glass after glass.

She stared into the glass and smiled at the way the wine reflected the light.  What a great painting.  She headed for the bedroom, wineglass and muse in tow.  She spilled a little on her old, stained apron while fumbling back towards her bedroom but just giggled it off.

Sarah stood in front of the easel and held her palette up, searching for the right colors.  She wasn’t sure… red or.. she couldn’t decide.  She found herself moving about the room while she tried to figure out which colors to use.  She stated twirling and singing.  She was dancing.  Her foot caught on the rug re-purposed out of old t-shirts and she went flying.  She fell at great speed towards the easel and landed with a loud “THUD!”   It took a few minutes for her to even realize what had happened, her mind still in a wine induced stupor.  A few minutes later, it took a while for the shock to wear off.  She was able to lift herself back onto her feet, wiping tears from her eyes.  Her day was ruined.  All she had wanted was to enjoy her day off with her muse and paint something wonderful.  Now, she was drunk and her room was a mess.

Sarah felt like throwing an all out tantrum, but she surveyed the mess instead.  Her wine glass had fallen on the rug she tripped over and it now had a rather pretty red tinge to it.  She shrugged, c’est la vie.  It would make a good story at least.  She bent to pick up her easel and she set it aright.  She flipped her pad of watercolor paper back to the one she was working on and was shocked to see.. a painting.  She flipped through the pad a few times.. no, this one was new.  Sarah’s hand went to her chin and then her chest.. as her mind tried to understand how this could have happened.  She immediately pulled her fingers away from her apron.  The wine had loosened some of the paints in her apron and Sarah’s hand was covered in a mess of smearing colors.. jsut like what she saw on the paper.

She laughed.  When she had fallen, she had imprinted her apron’s stains onto the paper.  And it looked awesome.  She picked up her wineglass and headed to the kitchen for a refill.  Maybe this muse thing wasn’t so bad afterall.

© Chelsea Roush. Unauthorized reproduction and/or redistribution is prohibited.


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