She can't paint. She can't imagine what she'd paint. She can't imagine which side to start from, what stroke or shade to apply, or what to feel. All that's making her heart rattle is other people's feelings, hypothetical reactions to creations she's too afraid to try. The world is prying the roof off her house and reaching in to strangle her imagination.
There is only one thing to do on foggy nights like this.
She visits the door of her one-room apartment. It is closed. She opens it as deliberately as you can open a door. She closes it as deliberately as –
- not as deliberately as you could,
- not as deliberately as Pierre-August Renoir could,
- not as deliberately as Corinne Vionnet could,
- not as deliberately as the unmatchable and far too young Amy Shackleton could,
– her Freshman art teacher could, but explicitly and precisely as deliberately as she could. This makes the world go away so quickly that she leaves the drapes open.
Leaves losing shades into a singular dark green, and then to utter silhouette. They waver against the overcast sky, some clouds thickening, grey on grey violence hiding where the moon might be rising. No starlight to bother her, and soon no grey-on-grey, only a thing that feels black. Her windowpanes become plastic white outlines on a ceaseless void.
There is no lamplight. There is no starlight. No cars backfire, no distant bridges cajole, and there are no stars in the sky because they are all too far away to reach her. To reach here. The world goes away. Her apartment doesn't rest on it; she lives on her own asteroid hurtling through a private bit of space. Would Renoir have liked The Next Generation?
Space abides no sound. It abides no neighbors, no debtors, no family angry at her for things she never wanted or intended to do with her adulthood. Her little apartment and perfect studio is so far away from any celestial body that gravity has to give up, and with it, the weight of all things social drifts and evaporates. A physiological metaphor plays across her shoulders and she feels that lift that's supposed to be cliché and that is actually so welcome it stirs tears. She dabs at them with a paintbrush, because then –
- then she can stalk up to the canvas and look it in the eyes she's yet to birth.
- then she can work without thinking of the verb.
- then she can sleep the way the verb out to work.– then she can open the door and face the world. She paints the knob first. It'll be avocado green.