Painting a Portrait of Marie

You asked me to paint a picture of you, for you

because you want it

so you can hang it on the red wall of your bedroom, framed by all the pictures you’ve taken of yourself.

It hasn’t even been five minutes since we began but your eyes are already sharp.

You ask me why I have blue on my paintbrush

and I tell you it’s because of the way the light of the ceiling fan reflects off of the blue walls in your kitchen.

But you protest:

I don’t want to be blue. Blue is a sad color.

I want to be pink and rosy and soft.

So I clean my brush off

and I make you pink and rosy and soft.

I can remember the yellow walls of the bedroom I grew up in.

It was a muted yellow, like the color of sunshine on the savannah. I used to hate it. Not so much anymore,

but still, when I am painting you in hues of ochre,

I cannot help but to be reminded of the sunshine on the savannah and how your face reminds me so much of the face of a puma.

Soft movements and crisp eyes. Sitting silently under the tall grasses, ready to pounce.

I am the zebra and you are the puma, warming differently under the same sun. After I finish, you tell me

You can stick around a little bit longer.

No, thank you.

I have other portraits to paint.

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