|A pause, a blip of inaction, my mind focuses on minutia. Black or Yellow? I have already painted my canvas, washed it actually, with an earthy red brown pigment. It's finally dry. My anticipation leaps forward. My mind is grateful for not having to think about Vanessa.
Now it’s only colors and round dots. I hold two paint tubes in my hand and opt for the black one. It’s dark and dreary like the way I’m trying not to feel. I squeeze some out on a small tray. I take my hawk feather––a barbecue stick would work perfectly, but a quill seems earthier––and plunge its stem into the glob of shiny black paint and press it on the canvas.
The dot is perfectly round. Oh, how I wish I could be so complete.
I make five or six more dots quickly. I’m curving the line that I’m following. Why should I go straight? I’m not going anywhere special. I follow it to the end of the canvas, and the line naturally stops. There’s no place left to go. The end.
That’s how life is. You’re there, vibrant and alive, then the line stops and you’re gone.
My wife Vanessa was like that.
After milking us for years, our insurance company denied us coverage when her kidneys failed. We wasted thousands of dollars and precious time trying to fight them––all to no avail. Finally, we moved to Germany so she could get the care she needed. She still died. It was too late, the German doctors said. She should have had treatment much earlier. She would have easily survived.
Anyway, we all die, not just me, you too. Yeah, I know that thing called death is far, far in the future––mine, of course––not yours. You’re not going to die, are you? And you'll always be healthy!
I pick up the other tube and squeeze out some mustard yellow. I plunge the quill into the paint and start placing yellow dots side by side with the black dots. They go well together. Black is death and the yellow is life, side by side and no matter what––black always wins. It's stronger and darker.
Some people say I should go back home since she is dead. But I can’t, it wouldn’t be right. I can’t participate in that meat grinder society any more. They'd let you die, if it improved their bottom line. But you're free to sue them, my friends say. Yeah, I'm going to sue a billion dollar conglomerate and win.
So, I’ll just settle in, paint my dots, and see if I can overcome this feeling of futility.
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