She Loved Colors

In response to this week's Tipsy Lit prompt: let’s see what kinds of locations/professions we can imagine ourselves (or our characters) in. Write a scene that describes the location in a way that also gives us a sense of the person who works there. There was no way out. She had to force the door open upon arrival, pushing clothing and spike heels and sundry items out of the way of the viridescent particle board on hinges. Even so, every time she wanted to leave, her belongings had managed to sneak their way back against the door as if plotting their escape, peeking under the crack for fresh air. The only window was old and painted shut, but at least it was single pane.

She lived in a one-room apartment with a closet-sized bathroom and no closet at all. In one corner, a sink and an electric range comprised her kitchen. The countertop was the color of the ripe flesh of a mango, and the fridge was child-sized. If she bought a six-pack of Corona, she had to drink four bottles in one night because there was only ever room for two. Warm beer rotted her insides. She’d wanted a microwave since she moved in but she could never save enough. Every bit of her monthly allowance went to rent, food, drink, pot and paints.

She had a knack for running out of food and money simultaneously. After starving for a day or two, assuming she wasn’t in the middle of a masterpiece, she would show up on a friend’s doorstep, bringing a painting she’d discarded before finishing, claiming that it came to her in a vision after their previous visit, and they would be so flattered that they inevitably offered her a drink or a snack or a whole meal. She never invited them to her place. Most of them didn’t know where she lived. But no one ever stopped opening their doors. Someday those paintings would be worth something.

She painted in front of the bay window. Beyond all of the buildings and smog and cement, she could see a sliver of ocean. Always waiting for her, no matter the blackness of night or the numbing of her mind.

She sold a few paintings at a farmer’s market, standing like a pathetic hippie in her long skirts and gladiator shoes and John Lennon sunglasses and vermillion lipstick and homemade earrings, praying to Jesus that the people of Los Angeles would see beyond her youth and recognize her for who she was.

The sales were demeaning and the tent cumbersome and the afternoons stifling. She quit selling at the market as soon as she’d earned enough for a queen mattress. A real bed helped her to dream. She had no other furniture. No dresser or shelves or couch, nothing but an easel and paintings and books stacked everywhere like the buildings around her, and piles of clothing and jewelry hanging from thumbtacks on the walls that were splattered in paint. Not in any particular pattern because she hated patterns, but she loved colors.

Painting. Photo credit: JennyMaldonado via Compfight cc