It’s now been a while since she started acting like this, like nothing and everything still matters at the same time. Like she wants to court death and flirt with life all at once. She now spends her days watching a lot of those garbage TV shows that paralyze your mind with time. She knows it because she has increasingly lost the zeal to do anything else, even though she knows her life depends on it. She even dreams of the stars. Yesterday and the day before that it was some professor, a mastermind of heists of some sorts. Today? It’s nothing! She just can’t sleep. The quietness of the world and the stillness of the air frightens her. She would rather it be the tunnel digging or the flying bullets that keeps her soul in company and her mind distracted, than nothing.
Suddenly, she feels her body suspended in the air, her legs floating, and somehow her body feels light. She arches her back and boldly presents her face to be smoothly swept by the cool breeze. She can feel the beauty of the stars under the blanket of her closed eyes. She doesn’t need to see them now. She’s always watching them outside her window whenever sleep decides to run from her. She tries to achieve some sort of stillness by disarming her consciousness to let her freedom reign and appreciate the freeing aura but fails. There was too much to admire, yet too much to be forgotten. There was both too much to cherish, and too much pain to be ignored. The quietness of the place encouraging both the peace and turmoil had an ambiguous feel.
Perhaps his choice was intentional. Rose was always stuck with an uncertain sense of surprise when Timothy’s craft turned out differently from how she would have imagined it. She couldn’t see him, although she hoped she could. He had strongly made it clear that his state of art was not to be washed away by her arguably longing stare when she watched him work. Truth be told, Rose was always awash by lust when she watched him work. His love for his craft was pure art. It wasn’t just about the mind knowing that whatever he poured his energy into will come out perfectly. Rather, it was his body language when in the mood to create beautiful, and sometimes mind-baffling pieces. He had a thing for ambiguity. As much as he had always been about presenting the reality of things, the tasteless, bitter and ugly events, he somehow had a way of dangling a silver lining when to anyone else it seemed there was too much hurt for the heart to convey. His talent was for the purpose of healing.
Rose felt like turning her head towards his end, but she could already hear him telepathically begging her not to. It had been almost two hours already and he hadn’t moved an inch. She could feel his eyes on her body, specifically her arched back. She thoughtfully smiled to herself while wondering, is he thinking what I’m thinking?
“Don’t do that.” She was hoping he wouldn’t notice, but clearly, his superpower couldn’t be cheated.
“How many more hours, babe?” She couldn’t hold her curiosity in any longer. While her body was light, her mind was wreaking havoc. When he said he wanted to do something different about his art, she hadn’t considered that she might end up mentally suspended in the air, her feet swinging half her length to the ground.
“Nearly there, babe.” What he really meant was she should stop with the questions.
A butterfly flew towards her, its beauty unfathomable. Surprisingly it landed on her right shoulder, and suddenly she could feel her breathing smoothen and time stand still. Rose feared shying it away if she tried holding it, so she silently prayed until her left hand reached out to it. Soon, the butterflies were flying over from all directions and resting peacefully on her body.
Timothy watched as Rose beautifully lay on the couch, her smile protruding from within her soul, her toes curling over the arm of the couch and only the sound of her breath filling the room. Her eyes closed as she was visibly lost in a world she had comfortably adapted to. Often, Timothy lovingly looked at her as she smiled to herself. Whatever was happening on the other side should have been amusing enough. He was now finishing the art, and as he held it towards the light, he felt that it was the best work he was yet to put out and something the world wasn’t ready for yet. He had often thought that if someone had seen him paint, and strike his brushes over the canvas, they would be envious of his fervent streak and wildly endearing imagination.
Rose walked over to the canvas and marvelled at how meticulous he had been, but mostly because his craft was serene. It resembled nothing of the room’s setting, nor of the posture she had assumed. And if she were to be accurate, it would have been more appropriate to say that it was as though both had travelled into another world, only she was his transporter. She had invited him to see and feel all that was to her, and he had birthed something extraordinary. Suddenly, watching her emotions rush through her facial expressions, as she moved around the canvas, wanting to touch and feel the butterflies as she had in her dream, he felt excited for the Gemini Arts Exhibition that The Pagers National Gallery had organized for the coming week.
Sitting on the foot of her bed, her body soaked in sweat, she couldn’t stop her tears from rushing down her cheeks as she starred at a blank wall. Knowing that the painting that had presented him with an opportunity for an international tour he didn’t get to experience hung directly opposite the wall in the next room tormented her. It was the last one he had had the chance to bring to life before he vanished off the face of the earth, and she hated it for that. The last one whose process she could vividly remember and whose outcome had been beauty personified.
It had only been about a month before his European tour, a week after the local one, that Timothy had had an unfortunate encounter with death in a car crash, and the gods had not granted him a second chance. The only thing she had learnt in their years of courting was that he had somehow realized that he had less time to spend with her, less time to do anything really and so he had made sure to passionately paint their memories with his artistic brush while they still had time. Most of the paintings that featured her had been telepathically created. They were not physically bound, and often presented a special and unique nature of their intimate relationship.
While she hated that life had been unfair by snatching away her loved one a little too soon, she was yet to come to terms that he still could be her muse as much as she had been his, that his name could continue to thrive in her heart as much as it did in the world, even after his death. She could still revisit that place he had seen her flourish in when he created an artistic treasure that was now the world’s greatest artistic marvel. When she thought about how the world saw her as his muse, she was besides herself. Perhaps she could turn her life around and let his spirit do the musing this time around.