I want to say being with you was like coming home, but that seems so over-done.
Despite the truth it holds.
I think maybe I’ll try and speak your language. Because being with you was homemade paint.
Mason jars lining shelves, oil and pigment and a palette of your own creation.
When you ran your fingers over my skin it wasn’t Cadmium red, no, it was more like, the setting of the sun after a hot summers day. Orange so deep it feels like you are going to fall into it. Not Permanent or Transparent. No, it was like a fire, warm and so, so bright. Like the world around me had gone up in flames and I was happy to burn with it.
Or when you laughed, the air lit up like a sunflower. Not Hansa or Nickel or Indian yellow. Think something between gold and the shade of a lemon. Honey, sweet and sticky.
And my heart twisted and turned inside my chest, adapting to the mix of colors, oil dripping into my veins.
When you smiled. God, when you smiled. The world seemed to converge. Nothing made sense. I was spinning in a circle in the middle of a carnival. Too much to process. Stained glass windows at noon, playing out across the floors of the church. Iridescent and never ending.
The only thing that brought me back was your brush hitting the canvas, your voice calling out to me, and then it was green, so much green, like a perfectly polished suburban yard and standing beneath a canopy of trees in August, looking up and up until the sun forces your gaze to turn, and the green depression glass that sits pretty on my mother’s bookshelf. I think of light dancing off an emerald ring, not Viridian or Olive or Sap. Nothing you can find in a crafts store. Nothing that can be manufactured. Only that which can be bended and built from your own mind and hands.
And then you were gone. Twice now you’ve left. And it is blue like I have never known. So dark it feels black if I dwell for too long. Richer than Idanthrone, not quite Prussian. Have you ever gone to the ocean at night, just before a storm hits the coast? Or, went up into the country, where the stars illuminate the world around you and the sky is spread out like a blanket above you? Not Cobalt or Cerulean. No, this blue is only something you can make. Something you’ve brought with you. With your sunflowers and your sunsets and your stained glass.
We talked about the way colors can change when they’re next to each other, next to something similar or vastly different. The way the depths can be altered, and just a little more oil can thin it out.
There is nothing to compare anymore.
Just blue. So blue I can’t breathe. So blue my fingers shake and my head aches.
The blue is okay when you’re there. When you’ve laid your palette out before me, when your canvas is full, and beautiful, and I can’t look away. But now, you’ve taken every other color with you, and left me with blue.
Not store bought or easily replaced.
Your blue. From your words and your touch and your voice.
I thought I saw you the other day, for just a moment, the world exploded around me. All the color I thought I’d never see again. A storm so rich with color, I could have gone blind.
But you’re still gone. And I’m still blue.
to the artist i loved and lost