1. The ocean is mighty
2. Opening the cabinet door I found a bowl of scrambled eggs
3. Just google it
“The ocean is mighty pretty today,” Josh commented. “I like all those little bits of green and purple down toward that end.” He pointed at the bottom left corner of my canvas, where I was attempting to show an oily sheen in the sun.
“Thanks,” I said as I wiped the brush on paper towels. “It’s still not quite right, though. I think I need a little smear of red for some contrast.”
He pursed his lips and considered the possibilities. “I don’t know about red,” he said at last. “It might be too strong for that spot when most of the rest is in shadow under the pier. How about a little of that pinky color you used on your chrysanthemums last week?”
I shook my head. “If I do that it will look like a week-old bruise. I’ll have to think about it a little bit. It’s time to quit, anyway.”
The clock was showing what my cramped fingers already knew, that we’d worked well past the official end time of the art class. Around us, everyone was beginning to put materials away, making sure the tubes of acrylic color were snugly closed and brushes carefully rinsed and coaxed into their proper shapes before packing.
I stretched the muscles in the back of my neck and rubbed stiff knuckles one at a time until the physical tension of the last two hours had abated. Every Thursday night was the same. The exhilaration of producing a viable piece of art in such a short period was tangible and marvelous, but the aftermath left me feeling every one of my eighty-two years.
Josh finished stowing all his own gear in the battered traveling case he always brought with him. I was still protecting my canvas when he was ready to leave, but I knew he’d wait with me after the rest of the group left so I wouldn’t have to leave the community center alone.
This time as usual, he sat and watched as I finished my preparations to leave, then picked up my little tote bag as I set my art case securely on its wheels. Checking one last time to be sure no one had inadvertently left something behind, we walked into the hallway, with Josh flicking off the lights as we went out.
In the sudden dark the room looked smaller, inhabited by strange shapes where easels stood draped with soft cotton covers. I shivered a little as I looked back through the silent doorway. A premonition?
Our cars were the last two in the lot, except for the sturdy van that belonged to the center director. As we got to my old Chevy, Josh asked if I’d like to go out for coffee.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” I answered him. “It was a long session tonight, and I’m kind of tired, but thanks.” I placed my equipment in the back seat and slid behind the wheel.