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Over the past year, I defeated a fear of other people, learned the value of clarity and brevity, fought writer's block, and developed pride in my words.

Now I am a writer with a love for onomatopoeias and an affinity for semicolons.

Message to Readers

This is a continuation of my other piece "Orange". If this doesn't make sense, that's why.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!


June 11, 2019


    After eating his breakfast and getting ready for the day (a bit of an uncomfortable experience, now that there was somebody else in the house), he grabbed a book from a shelf and sat down on the couch. He was reading about the ocean when she plopped down next to him, nearly scaring him out of his skin. She leaned over his shoulder to peer at the words.
    “What’s that?”
    He glanced at her before turning the page. “I’m learning about the ocean.”
    “Oohh, sounds fun.” A short silence. “Teach me something.”
    “Teach me something! I’m bored.”
    He looked up from the book. “Really?” She nodded. “Alright then.” He flipped to a map at the beginning of the book. “Everything blue is the ocean, which covers about seventy percent of the earth. There are seven different parts of it, each with its own unique flora and fauna. Each ecosystem is very fragile, and needs specific currents and temperature to flourish and maintain the levels of biodiversity that each has.” He paused. “Are you following so far?” No answer. “Hello?” He turned to look at her and found her staring off into the distance, again with the purple tint and faraway smile. “Hey!” He poked her arm.
    Her eyes once again came into focus as the purple shifted to a rosy pink. They met his and she beamed. “If you had a pet whale, what would you name it?”
    “I’m sorry?”
    “I would name it Beatrice. That sounds like a good whale name.”
    “Hold on. How much of what I said did you actually hear?”
    She thought for a moment. “I stopped listening when you started talking about seventeen percent.”
    “Seventy. Not seventeen. The two are very different.”
    “But they’re both boring. Who cares what percent the ocean is or whatever? That doesn’t tell you anything important.”
    “It gives a tangible value to it.”
    She threw up her hands in exasperation. The pink darkened. “It’s a number! You can’t see or touch or feel seventeen or seventy or two hundred and twenty three. But you would certainly be able to see and touch and feel Beatrice.”
    He looked at her for a moment, mouth open but words unable to form.
    She continued with a slight frown on her face—a look of unadulterated determination. “What does it matter whether the ocean is seventeen percent of whatever you were talking about? No matter what number you give to it, the ocean is still big and blue. No number will change that.”
    “I suppose that’s true,” he mused. “They help us keep better track of it though.”
    She seemed ready to object, but stopped and sat back, the vibrant pink calming once more. After thinking for a couple seconds, she shook her head. “Yeah, I can’t really argue with that. Numbers are good for keeping track of things.” Another pause. “But why do we need to?”
    He couldn’t quite think of a good enough answer.
    He shuffled out of his room the next morning, his hair in disarray and his eyes half closed. Before his eyes could process what was in front of him, an unfamiliar smell drifted through the air. Strange but not necessarily unpleasant, it was a mix of a sweet chemical and mild dust. Upon fully opening his eyes, he was witness to a huge mural almost entirely covering one of his walls. Containing more shades of blue than he knew were possible, the picture broke the neverending stretch of the sky continuously surrounding him -- opening a portal to a different, unfamiliar world.
    She was tinted the same rosy pink as the day before, but the swirling color was interrupted by the blue spots of paint covering her body. A plate of cold, half-eaten pancakes were resting next to an open book near her feet. She was in the midst of painting a creature that he never would have been able to even comprehend, with long tails and vibrant eyes that almost seemed to have a spark of life in them. He leaned against the doorframe and watched as she squatted down and studied the book, taking a bite of her breakfast without tearing her eyes from the page. After tapping her paintbrush to her chin and marking a blotch on her face, she stood back up and continued adding another layer.
    Thinking for a moment, he reached into his pocket for the now very wrinkled napkin and the pen. Consciously trying not to disturb the quiet, he quickly and lightly added another item to the list.
    Pink -- creating
    The sound of the toaster going off sprang through the air, startling them both. It caused her to turn around and look at him, having heard him jump. He quickly shoved the napkin back into his pocket. She smiled as she asked, “do you like it?”
    He took her question as an invitation to step closer. “What……...How………?”
    “It’s the ocean.” She spoke softly, as if telling him a secret. The air was very still. “Or, at least, I think it’s the ocean. Look.” She stood up on her toes and pointed at a smaller figure towards the edge of the picture. “There’s Beatrice.”
    He picked up the book and flipped through the pages, recognizing it as the one he was reading the day before. He frowned. “What did you use to create this painting from? There aren’t any pictures in here.”
    “I dunno,” she whispered. She dabbed a bit of white into the eye of the creature. “I read the words, I got an image in my head, and I put it on the wall.” She paused, and looked at him with concern in her eyes. The pink shifted to an almost red color. “You don’t mind that I did this to your wall, do you?”
    “No, no, not at all. It’s a bit of relief, actually. Gives me something new to look at.” The red paled back to its original shade as she let out a quiet breath. He smiled, and placed a hand on one of the tails of the creature, which had already dried. The paint left a smooth, chalky film on his fingers, and he rubbed them together, savoring the strange sensation. “I don’t remember reading about something that looked like this.”
    “It wasn’t in the book.” She laughed at his surprise, a bit of orange drifting through her rosy expression. “Don’t look at me like that. I figured, if the ocean is big enough that it covers seventy percent of the world” --she shot him a sly smile-- “then there’s bound to be something in there that we haven’t found yet.”
    “Solid reasoning,” he laughed.
    After studying him for a moment, she held her paintbrush out to him. “Here. You should try it.”
    “Oh, no.” He held up a hand to stop her. “Really, I would just mess it up.”
    “Who cares? Nobody else is gonna see it.”
    He laughed bitterly. “Believe me, nobody else would want to see it.”
    She rolled her eyes. “I do.”
    Taken by surprise, he didn’t know what else to do other than to accept the brush from her paint-spotted hands. She handed him the plate she had been using as a palette, offering him more colors than he knew what to do with. Without a word, she directed him to the only translucent area left of the wall, then went and sat behind him on the kitchen table, leaving a blue handprint on the polished surface. He glanced back at her in apprehension, to which she responded with a motion as if nudging him forward. Shaking his head, he turned and pressed the tip of the brush to the blank surface. Trying very hard to maintain consistency with the rest of the painting, his movements were stiff and forced. However, as time went on, his fingers loosened, his concentration relaxed, and he slowly submerged into the quiet. He forgot he wasn’t the only one in the room until he finished, almost an hour later.
    He turned around, surprised by his own investment into this activity that he hadn’t previously considered at all. She was still sitting on the kitchen table when he finished his last brushstroke, watching him with a small smile and a cloud of purple swirling through her. Her grin widened, and she slightly nodded to the piece behind him. “Told you.”
    Stepping back to look at his creation, his shoulders dropped a bit. Their styles hadn’t blended as well as he would have liked, his being much blockier, with less fluid shapes. She noticed his change in expression, and raised an eyebrow. “What’s up?”
    He gestured to the painting. “I messed it up. It would have been fine with just you, but it looks worse now.”
    “What?” She laughed. “What on earth are you talking about? I think it looks great.” Squinting at the wall, she studied the area where his contribution met hers. “Yours isn’t worse than mine. It’s just,” she tilted her head, “different.”
    He stared at her for a second, then started laughing. “Yeah, I guess different is one word for it.” They laughed together for a minute before a question came to mind. “Hey, where did all this paint come from, anyways? I can guarantee that I didn’t have any in here before today.”
    “I’m not really sure,” she said. “I just knew that I needed it.”


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  • June 11, 2019 - 12:02am (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • Jul

    I love how different the two characters are in this piece! It makes the dialogue very fun to read. :)

    about 1 year ago