Published: December 16, 2007
She was everything to him, his muse, his life, his inspiration. She was curled up on the couch, ringlets of her hair laying, resting on her flushed cheeks. She was wrapped up in the blanket he’d brought out for her that night when she’d come to the door, upset and unexpected, shivering from the cold of the storm.
The movements of his paintbrush graced the canvas, gliding in the manner of an Olympic Ice Skater. In shades of pale peach he was capturing her face, crushed against the pillow, and perfect. Leah thought she was beautiful. There was a land of milk and honey in her eyes, and he saw it every time she smiled at him, whenever those big blues would light up. They’d spark like a match to dry wood, and then the forest fire happened, a chain effect of blushing and grinning back, the tree not minding that it was flaming as well because it was no longer alone.
The pillow cover folded and sank in, rose and pinched, wrinkled and rippled beneath her rose-red cheek. Her lips, large and in a constant pout, were pale as the prettiest pink pearls. How lovely they’d been that night, so cold by the winter winds, trembling with each shiver and tremor that racked her body! She collapsed to the plush of the couch in the most somnolent manner – When Leah left to fetch her some hot tea for her cool fingers, she had fallen asleep, finding respite between the ratty green blanket he’d used to wrap up in as a baby.
The emotional imbroglio caused him to sigh. He was too old for her with his three years. Too different, too strange to be feeling this way. It was beginning to consume him, for he thought of her every morning at breakfast and sometimes dreamt of her at night. What was wrong with him, unable to shake such thoughts about this girl? A relationship would have been impossible. Her brother, he’d never let it happen.
None of that mattered here, not now. Now Delilah was dreaming, long black lashes reaching out like spider legs to tickle her cheeks. Now they were fluttering, tapping at her skin as she pulled the cloth tighter around her body.
Leah watched, breath held tight in his chest, until she calmed.
Delilah could dream up the most amazing things, couldn’t she? She could dream up whatever she liked, from oceans and kingdoms to supermarkets and old friends. He was suddenly very sure that she did dream such things, because she was imaginative and creative and always talked to him about the most magical and far-fetched fairy tale ideas.
She could dream, and she was just as hopeless as he was, wasn’t she?
If she could, why in the world couldn’t he?
He turned to the canvas, then to his model. He compared. It would never be as beautiful as she was, but maybe if he was very careful not to wake her, he could have the time to make it perfect. I don’t have the skills for that, He realized sadly. All the time in the world wouldn’t be enough.
He didn’t need all the time in the world, though. He would be happy enough settling for that morning. Leah wondered how long it would be before Demetrius showed up to bring his sister home, wondered how long he still had with the angel before Heaven called her home.
Then he stopped thinking about it. He stopped thinking completely. He turned off his brain and started thinking with his eyes, with his heart, and he made a promise. He promised himself that Delilah would never see the painting. Nobody would look at it until he was sure it was finished, perfect, a piece of work worthy of it’s subject. One day, maybe, he’d open his eyes and the lighting would be perfect, the colors would all be spot on, the girl would be as real as she had been that morning on his sofa…
Then again, a little bird in a book had once told him that “A painting is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places.”