Lover in the Painting

She looked at me when I stroked her hair in perfect brown oil. She was beautiful, curvaceous with lips like apples. A small dip of my brush gave her legs longer than the days I’d spent dreaming of her. The corner of her right eye was smudged slightly in the one place I’d lost my focus for just a moment. It was in that small moment I’d lost myself in the joyous expression nestled in her soft brown eyes. She was perfect.

Her lips began to part as if to say something to me. My heart nearly sputtered out of my chest, my breath caught in my throat at the beauty of her hesitation. The ballerina cradled her reddening face in two small hands.

She reached a slender finger away from her face and towards my brush which hovered just on her hairline. I was unprepared for her girlish smile when she tapped a fingertip to the hairs on the brush. Had I heard her laugh, I may have tried to fall into the easel to be with her. A gentle stroke gave her flowing chocolate hair in a precarious bun atop her face heart shaped face. Curious, she followed each line as I made it, her cheeks ablaze and her smile deepening. Her eyes flitted to the other blank canvases behind me. She galloped away.

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I ran to her side, following her chasses and turns in awe. She flitted from easel to easel with grace swaying her arms about. I ran to her stumbling over wooden stools and old paints to see where she may have gone next. I found her hiding in the easels just above my window, the sun bathing her in morning light I hadn’t even noticed until now. Just a wink and she flitted off to my sketchbooks. The pages came to life, flipping one after another as she danced across them. Her laugh was infectious. She galloped with ease and jumped from sheet to sheet.

She paused suddenly and turned her brown pools and rosy cheeks to meet my gaze. I hadn’t noticed until this very moment I had been holding my breath. She reached out a delicate hand to me. My quaking fingers inched towards the paper, yearning for a small touch. I found myself in the notebook at her side, my hands reduced to ticks of charcoal strokes. She placed her hand in mine and together, we ran from page to page, canvas to canvas, nearly missing the water spots ahead of us where earlier I’d become frustrated with my work.. We danced- or rather, she danced circling around me in giddy turns and strides. But she found her home in her easel. My work was completed and it was time to part ways. All too soon I found myself on the outside of her world, always looking in and longing for her love. I was shut out, trying to tap fingertips of canvas to feel her joy once more. She was all oils and paper again, leaving a melancholy ache in my chest. But her smile always reminded me of what I had. I always had her. Always had the dancer in the painting. My lover in the painting.  

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