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The Canvas

Jacob calls me in the afternoons, around three to make sure I am out of bed. On this day, I am groggy, but I still answer. “Let’s go have a margarita at that Mexican place by the gallery tonight,” he says.

“Not yet. OK?”

“Oh, come now, Jane! They have great fajitas, killer salsa. Besides, margaritas are your fav!”

“I’m not up for it. Not today,”

“Have you been able to paint?”

“No.”

“Jane?”

“My brain’s not working. There’s no color really”

“Your last piece in the gallery, the one with the woman alone in the field of wildflowers, it was so damn good.”

“Thanks, Jake.”

"Do you need me to bring you anything?”

 “No.”

“Honey, how, I mean, what is going to take to pull you out of this?”

“I don’t know…”

“Tell me.”

“Well, I... guess I could be a rock groupie and travel around with Don Henley.”

“Janie, I am serious.”

“Me too.” He breathes a long sigh, and I think of him standing in the kitchen with his shirt off, rubbing those jungle-green eyes like a tired little boy.

“You know, it’s not everyday,” I say, swallowing hard, “they put your mother away.”

“I know,” he says, his voice is deep.” You sure I can’t bring you something today.” 

“Not yet.”

“You do know, I’ll go with you to the state hospital to visit her,” he says. “I can go with you, when you’re ready.” 

I watch my orange tabby creep across the room then drop and roll on his side with such zest. Something about his carefree manner hits me, and I tear up. “Yes,” I say, sucking in air. “But it will be awhile before she’s clear on her new medication. I may need to go alone.”

“Okay... I’ll just call you tomorrow.”

“I know,” I say, smiling a little. When I tell him goodbye, I get this image of him, those lovely muscles in his broad back standing near the bay window, a bit of sunlight on his face with that sad worried expression. Turning over on my pillow, I can almost see the fine streaks of gold in his curly hair, and I think about tomorrow. Maybe I will sit in front of the canvas again. 

“Tomorrow,” I whisper.

 

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