Taking trips back and forth, Sam gathered the rest of his belongings from his car, passing Gabe making out with an unknown brunette on the couch. He ignored the couple and got to work setting up his easel in his room.
He carefully taped the edges of a new piece of canvas paper. His homemade charcoal was reserved for certain projects, using them for the drawings he knew would always be special and portray the heaviest of emotion. He would add watercolor later, but for now he’d work on Charlie’s face.
With each soft stroke, he focused on harnessing the beauty of her profile. Remembering to include the tiny beauty mark under her lip and the perfect downward swoop at the tip of her nose, her hair dark, shaded and soft, Sam made sure he used the smearing pencils and worked the highlights perfectly. He took his time, precious time he knew he shouldn’t be spending on this. But his forever had now changed, leaving him to constantly question the things to which he didn’t have the answers. Drawing Charlie was the perfect distraction, yet the perfect way to excuse away his thoughts of her.
He dipped the paintbrush into the blob of red paint on his palette, mixing it with the perfect amount of water. Testing the hue on a separate piece of canvas paper, he swiped the brush twice and removed the excess red. He wanted to make the coloring as soft as possible, truly executing her glow and velvety skin.
The entire piece would end up in tones of scarlet, rose, peach, and gold. It somehow represented all the things about her: her naivety, her patience, her selflessness, her timidity, her strength, her goddess, her mind, and her soul. Her posture was slightly slouched, the way she always sat on their bed on lazy Sunday afternoons, trying to act as though it didn’t bother her that parts of her body were exposed; fighting with the thought of grabbing the sheet to cover herself. Her arms were strategically placed to cover one of her breasts, with her fingers wrapped around her ankle. Legs in front of her and knees bent, she tried disguising her torso. And with her head down, a shy smile covered her blushing face.
It was perfect.
And it was everything Sam missed about her.
Nine hours after he began, he stripped off the masking tape and set the canvas flat to dry. Leaning over the bed, Sam stared at his painting from above, able to watch her again when she was unaware. Allowing himself to stare through her – at all the precious things about her – without caring who would judge him for admitting he was still wildly in love with this woman.
He dropped to his knees and buried his head in his hands, trying to keep his desperate sobs silent so that Gabe wouldn’t hear.