#DailyPicspiration – Week 132 : I Watched The Candles Burn

It took all day to draw the sketch and I still wasn’t happy with it. It left so much out. So many feelings, so many details. The color of her eyes, the texture of her hair. It left out all my feelings, my emotions. The excitement I felt, the way her eyes drew me in, I wanted to get lost in them. Lost, and never find my way back.

That first kiss. That day we stood beside her car, amid the morning rush of people getting breakfast on their way to work. That day I looked at her, into her eyes, oceans of hazel, and couldn’t look away. That day her fingers touched my cheek, and the world was gone. That day she leaned forward and her lips touched mine for the first time.

I’d tried for weeks to capture that moment, that breath, that heartbeat of my life. Sketch after sketch, day after day, failure after failure. I’d lost count of the hours of sleep I lost trying to capture that moment on a sheet of paper. The days I’d gone to work at night, wondering how I’d drive home the next day without falling asleep as I drove.

Still I tried. Another day of lost sleep. Another failure.

I closed my eyes, tried to imagine what I’d missed on the paper. What I’d failed to capture with my pencils. If I’d missed any details. Any moment. Anything at all.

I worked in the dark, the curtains closed, the lights off, my music playing. The only light came from the candles I’d set on the table. Candles nearly burned away, all that remained were small fragments of wax with wick. I watched them burn, the tiny flames flicker, the light they cast shift as the flames moved.

What had I missed? What had I done wrong?

How do you capture a feeling? How do you draw it? Bring it to life? Put it on paper?

I’d tried everything I knew. Every technique. Every skill I’d grown over the years. None of them worked, none of them did what I wanted, none of them showed that moment. That first kiss, burned into my memory forever.

As the candles burned, I pulled out another sheet of paper and once more drew my pencils. If I couldn’t capture that moment, perhaps I could do something simple. A simple sketch of the candles, before they burned away.

Lines appeared on the paper, shadows, reflections. How do you capture a full color, burning candle in shades of gray? How do you capture its color when you have no color? How do you capture the flickering flame in a static image?

One hour, then two. I stared at the sketch I’d made. Three candles, burning away to nothing. Flames clinging to wicks, light reflecting off glass. It was all there. Every detail. The way the candles made me feel was on that paper.

In only two hours, I’d done it.

In a simple sketch, in shades of gray. I looked at the sketch, then at the candles. They looked so different, though they were the same. I shook my head, I’d left so much detail out of the sketch. Missing shadows, missing wisps of smoke. It wasn’t a photograph. It was a sketch. A drawing.

And I knew, in that heartbeat, I knew how to bring the sketch of that first kiss to life.

I erased details here and there, removed background images, highlighted key details, her eyes, her lips. Nothing but the her, and the kiss mattered. The rest was secondary. The rest was detail, distraction, useless.

I looked at the finished sketch and knew I’d done it. I’d found the way. I’d captured that moment.

I watched the candles burn away, and waited for the door to open, and her to come home. So I could give her what I’d created. Share with her what I’d felt.

The moment she first kissed me.

The moment my heart sang.


This story created itself for my last Daily Picspiration story. Every two weeks, I write another story for Daily Picspiration. You can find these stories, and many other, created by many talented souls, at:

Daily Picspiration

Go. Read. Enjoy. And don’t be afraid to tell everyone there how you feel about the stories they’ve created.

Mark.

Yep, That Was The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Yep, that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. But I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. Because it was the right thing to do. Let me explain.

Five years ago, Becky sat in the cube next to mine at work. Her laugh always made me smile, and I wanted so much to just stare into her blue eyes. I’d asked her to lunch once, but she’d refused. “My boyfriend wouldn’t like it.”

I settled for the usual, safe office small talk. “How was your weekend?” and “How did you celebrate the holiday?” Meaningless, safe stuff. Stuff everyone knows they can talk about. Like asking, “How was your vacation?” when she came back after a trip, or “Hope you’re feeling better now,” when she’d been out sick. Small talk. Nothing nosey.

But I noticed those mornings she came in with a little extra makeup on. Those days she winced when she reached for the phone. Those days she wore long sleeves in the spring or summer.

I noticed those days she called in sick, and came in a day or two later, walking a little carefully and slowly. I noticed how she always wore mascara on those days, and long sleeves.

I knew the story the details covered up.

On Becky’s birthday, the office bunch went took her to lunch. Her boyfriend showed up. Becky was really quiet, and didn’t talk like she normally did. I knew why. She was scared of him, the loud, arrogant person that made sure everyone knew Becky was his. Like she was a possession of some kind.

Lunch was eventful as everyone tiptoed around the topic of Becky’s long sleeves, and extra makeup. “Nice to meet you,” and “So you’re the guy she’s told us about,” and “You’re a lucky guy, having a girl like her.”

Everything was small talk, until he was ready to leave. That’s when things went bad. Really bad. Becky didn’t want to go with him. “I have to go back to work,” she’d said.

The guy yanked her to her feet, “No one will mind if you spend the afternoon with me.”

That’s when Becky looked at me, with her eyes screaming, “Help me!”, and she whispered to me, “Please.”

So, I stood up, and stepped in front of him. “She doesn’t want to go. And I’m not letting you hurt her any more.”

I got the beating of my life that day. A broken jaw, cracked ribs, bruises everywhere. But I stood up to the bad guy. And the restaurant staff called the cops, and an ambulance. Becky rode to the hospital with me. The cops arrested her boyfriend. And that’s when the domestic violence and assault charges got filed.

It took weeks for me to breath without wincing. My ribs hurt for months. I had 27 stitches in my lips and chin. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, standing up to that guy. But, I’d do it again. See.

I got Becky too.

498 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge. I found them all worth reading.