The Blank Canvas

I should be painting right now, but I’m staring at the canvases lined up thinking of you instead. I say I don’t think of you, but I do. It’s usually late at night in the silence of a sleeping house. I just get the feeling that if you were here, things would be better. I mean, I know they wouldn’t be, they’d be the same, but I could talk to you about them. I could ask for your wisdom and you’d laugh at me.

“Wisdom isn’t something that can be taught,” You’d laugh. “It has to be learned. The only thing I could possibly do is guide you away from what I’ve already tried that didn’t work.” Then you’d ruffle my hair. I’d act annoyed but I wouldn’t forget.

I look at the canvas and I think, “AHA! I’ll paint you!” Because you were always so beautiful to me. So real that even my own body sometimes felt alien, unkempt, and unruly as I watched you move with grace even though your shoulders were hunched over and you shuffled your feet. I don’t know how to capture everything you meant to me. I don’t know how to not cry when I remember the jokes you told me, how you cheated at cards, your morning prayers, poker with buttons, or sauerkraut making in the basement with the family.

How can I capture the truth of what it felt like to be with you? What it meant to be the most important person in the world in a room full of people with every one of them feeling the same way. You never excluded anyone from your love. You never turned anyone away who came asking, or just to be near you. You were filled with an unending capacity that I strive to achieve because I admired it so much.

I sit here looking at the colors of paints in messy bottles, well loved paint brushes drying after last nights foray, and I wish, I just wish I could hug you again. I wish you could tell me with your heart that you love me too.I wish I could coax the colors to obey my command regarding you. But they sit as still as a stalked mouse with me the pouncing cat. The brushes feel like hammers in my hands, refusing as well to obey.

I feel you sometimes, particularly in the wee hours of the morning. It’s usually when I pour my first cup of coffee from the still brewing pot. I sit down at my table and I look at the spot where my husband and usually the guests sit. I can see you sitting there with your own cup, smiling at me. Together we take that sip and the hot bitter beauty washes my tongue with scalding hot communion. We exhale and whisper the prayer together. Then, you usually go wherever you go while I talk to my ceiling and look to the sky.

My canvas is still blank. My heart remembers you. And for no particular reason, my wish is that you hear my words, “I love you so very much.”

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