Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two Corners

I have managed to paint myself into a corner. As I stand here with my back against the wall surveying the fresh coat of paint all around me, I look down at my feet and realize I've limited myself to six inches in every direction. I look across the room and see my girlfriend trapped by the same brushstrokes, trembling and crying and trapped in her own corner, crouched down and hugging her knees tight against her chest. To my left is a sliding glass door that exits to the outside balcony. It is open and I can feel the gentle breeze of life as it rushes in and swirls around my body, taunting me with its freedom. There is a cat poised on the railing, tail twitching wildly as it stares down at something of interest and meows loudly.

I look back at my girlfriend. She now has her arm extended out, hovering and slowly moving in front of her, her index finger pointed down creating streaks in the floor in front of her. She is finger painting. Her lines take the shape of letters, words spelled backwards so that I can read them: "LOVE IS FLEETING". She runs out of space, so she pivots and faces the wall and continues writing, every-so-often dipping her finger back to the floor to reapply paint to her writing finger.

My attention is diverted as the cat meows again, this time with a feral passion that goosebumps my soul. It stands up in threatening posture, claws dug into the banister, back arched high and hair puffed out to make it appear bigger. It hisses madly and presents its sharp teeth in a demonic display of warning. It looks down at its rival, hissing and meowing in a terrifying manner as I watch in curious trepidation. Suddenly a shadow appears across the balcony, small at first but quickly grows larger, and within seconds the cat is unwarily clutched and lifted away by a falcon twice its size and ferocity. Silence is followed by horror as life once again floats in and greets me calmly, dutifully, quietly.

My girlfriend has now written an apology letter on the wall around her. Curvy lines of paint strokes forming letters and words, her sorrow permanently displayed for all to see: "LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL. I AM SORRY, I AM SAD. GOODBYE MY LOVER, THE BEST I EVER HAD". She is back to hugging her legs and knees, rocking back & forth while sobbing. Paint now stains her shirt and pants, it's also on her face and arms and in her hair. She has been overtaken, her safety zone greatly diminished. She has become one with my mistake, an amalgamation of all my failures and the hope and dreams that I created within her. I have let her down, I've painted us both into a corner and allowed no room for escape.

I watch helplessly as the paint creeps ever closer, covering first her shoes and pant legs, then spreading across the rest of her body completely. She resembles the rest of the room now, an indistinguishable corner of sadness that is nothing more than a wall and floor. Emptiness mixes with despair as I slide down to the floor and grasp my knees to my chest. I feel very alone now as I repeatedly read the words painted on the wall where my girlfriend once sat. A shadow suddenly appears on the floor in front of me, small at first but quickly grows bigger. I look up just in time to see the talons of my escape, before everything goes black and deathly quiet.

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