256 Words

Now that He Doesn't Stand There

M. Stanley Bubien

It was awful when my husband stood there, watching---and now that he doesn't, it should be easier.

"I'm not finished," I'd told him a month ago as I dabbed brush into palette. "Don't say anything."

"I won't say a word," he replied. Always the same. Always. "Not a word."

I drew arrow-straight lines of green for palms, mauve to mimic jacaranda over our garden, and skin-like hues as empty earth. For me, painting, like film-making, remained an experiment.

"Can I just say one thing?"

I sighed. Always, always.

"I liked the squiggles better yesterday," he pointed toward the fronds. "The squiggles. They worked." And he drawled on and on about how and why and where they incorporated with the weave, nodding within his half-straight collar, gesturing with one sleeve rolled up.

"Damn!" I cried, cutting him off, brush pointed toward the kitchen. "Go make some lunch. Burgers or something! But leave me alone."

With those mischievous eyes, and on the edge of a smile, he marched away like a short-order cook.

I turned again to the canvas, but instead of dipping the brush, I rested on an arm, pushed nose close, leaned away, cocked my head. A sneaking feeling came upon me.

"Damn it," I mumbled at those unnaturally straight fronds. Always, always.

I hated him being right!

But I still cried after the heart attack took him. A month later, I sought consolation in painting---which should be much easier!

I glanced behind and sighed.

But now that he doesn't stand there, it's awful.

Inspired by the words of Christiane Kubrick.
For Christiane and Stanley Kubrick.

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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August, 1999
Issue #40

256 Words