Excerpt from Tree men and paint blobs


A little snippet from a short story I’m writing for my fiction class.


I left the library and it started to drizzle. The concrete grew darker and soon I was pulling my hood over my head to keep my mascara from running down my neck.
I watched my tights soften and cling tighter to my calves as they absorbed the rain. I ran and then stopped mid jog to wait for the bus. It rushed passed me, flashing the words OFF DUTY. Now how was I supposed to get home? Walking would take an hour, and in this downpour? I grumbled to myself, dragging my laces around the weeds on the sidewalk cracks. I’d have to wait a little longer, let the air dampen my mood a little farther.
And I spotted the art store, the little one across the street where people donated their old art books and gently used paintbrushes. Where you could buy fully illustrated sketchbooks by local artists. I took a detour, decided camping out there would be better than waiting in the rain. I could find out when the next bus came. My numb hands fumbled for the doorknob.
And then the brilliant man opened the door to blink at me.
I was stricken first by the large ears, almost faerie like in nature- like some abnormally beautiful breed of goblin- I would never say this to him of course. It sounded much better when I said it to myself in my head. The ears gave way to a slender feminine looking face, much softer than my own. I mumbled something, stepped past him, let the smell of dry paint fill my nostrils. He didn’t speak. He only hovered around the oil paints, examining them with his reedy ring adorned fingers.
Fingers like twigs, knuckles like tree rings. Straight out of some frosty woodland.
I turned away, cheeks flushing. I went around the aisles and pretended to stare at rows of blank canvases and sketchbooks. I peered around the corner, hoping to catch a flash of him before I was forced to look away again.
I caught the top of his head, a wispy whirl of night dreams, and then the slender trail of his neck and the rather fragile shoulder blades creating lines in the fabric of his sweater.
I looked at him for a minute, and then he turned around and I had to pretend to be interested in something on the shelf. I had never painted anything in my life, my fingers are so short and clumsy they wobble when I try to draw a straight line. But I pretended to be debating between two different shades of turquoise as he turned they corner and passed by me.
He had a strange scent. Like pine needles and baby powder.
Our eyes caught on each other for a moment, and then I decided that it was much too much for me to handle. My heart was ready to fling itself down into my gut.
And this was exactly why I tried not to pay attention to strangers. I tended to fall in love with everyone I saw.


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