#PromptFiction - Untitled
My lovely ladies, Elle and Dixie, have been busy posting up a couple of their own prompts. I haven't done one in a while and I felt like I was slacking, major hard. Prompt provided by Dixie, and this small piece is very reminiscent of a NA I'm currently working on, so I've left it untitled for obvious reasons. So, here's this one from me...
The moment their front door opened, she could smell it.
Like aerosol, paint thinner, and primer.
Like his life, work, anger, and his love all rolled into one.
Her stomach did three flip-flops before she’d even reached the end of the foyer to their small home. One time, that smell used to make her grin a little knowing smile that no one else could really understand. Especially when it lingered on the edges of worn denim and thin t-shirts.
Anybody else might have brushed off the smell as a new coat of paint being laid down to walls that could really use one.
But not her.Not when it came to him.
Her sneaker clad feet hit the stairs, skipping two at a time. She could hear the aerosol can nozzle whooshing out a steady stream of color, coming straight from the only spare bedroom they had in the house.
God, she hoped he wasn’t ruining the wall.
Some called his work graffiti, others who cared even less for the bright imagery and carefully constructed masterpieces called it vandalism. Any other day, she would have called it art. Hell, she had his art marked up the line of her spine in the form of ink all reds, blacks, and blues.
Because it was, art that is, and he only really worked on commissioned pieces now, regardless of what anyone else thought.
Still, in their home?
Maybe she shouldn’t have been so surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time he marked up a wall.
The ceiling above their bed held one of the most intricate, beautiful abstract designs all done up with Sharpie markers. That came after a week long fight that left her frustrated and him distant. So he colored it out, swiping out his anger and words and feelings on a fifteen by ten ceiling.
She couldn’t bear to paint over it.
Pretty things shouldn’t be covered.
When she hit the spare bedroom’s open door, her steps finally faltered into a stutter. He didn’t even turn around, simply passed back a mask to protect her from the fumes.
It’s gotta be hard, her friends sometimes said.
Hard to what?
To be his wife, they’d answer.
The little honest part inside would whisper yes. The irrational one, surrounded in love, aerosol paint, and beauty always screamed no.
The can of paint tap-tap-tapped against the strong denim clad thigh as he gave her time to adjust to what she was seeing. She could hear the metal ball inside the can clanging around with every smack. Kisses of spray paint dotted his fingers and nails, splattering up his arm like a muddy mark along the lines of ink that covered his own flesh.
She couldn’t help but notice the droplets of paint dripping down the can. He hated a leaking nozzle.
The mask muffled the squeak of her surprise. “Are you nervous?” she asked, shocked.
That wouldn’t be like him. If anything, his work was one of the only things he was most proud of.
Some doctors wanted to throw out an autism diagnosis, others just wanted to write out a script of happy pills colored white, blue, or pink. They wouldn’t let them. Sometimes all it took was the sound of a can’s cap popping off or the fresh break of plastic when he broke in a new nozzle to get him focused, for him to find his drive.
“Maybe,” he finally answered.
Eye contact, he avoided it like the plague. It didn’t matter, because she was drawn in to the tree now covering three walls in thick brown lines, with shades of gray and black striking in the background. Bulbs of red dangled from the curled ends of reaping limbs.
She could plainly see where he had started and where he’d just finished before she arrived. His frustrations had colored some bolder than the other, browns twisting the bark to look weathered, worn, and strong.
“It could be like me,” she heard him whisper.
“Like you.” Her voice was barely there echo in a too large space. She tried so fucking hard to keep the anger out of it. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“What if it is?”
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” she repeated strongly.
“Is it not okay?”
Just like that, he seemed to have moved on from whatever was bothering him. She knew what it was.
“Yeah… I know it’s a little grim, or whatever. I mean, it’s not the usual nursery mural.”
“No, it’s just fine.” In fact, her panic was ebbed. She was sure they’d be just okay, now. “Perfect, even.”
She wasn't just talking about the mural.
“Yes, I’m sure.”
It was him, her and them, after all. How could it not be?