Sheets of rain pelted the window pane. I steeped back and took an over view of my painting. There was still much it lacked but there was nothing else I could see through the rain. I wiped the paint brush clean on a rag then dropped it head first into a cup full of other brushes soaking in cleaner. As I crossed the room there was a knock on the door not your common three hit knock , but an uncommon rhythm from a little known movement bya little known pianist. I knew it as her. It'd been almost three months since last she dropped in. I was hoping she'd changed but when I opened the door enough for her to wink at me I knew she had taken the lower road.
"What's shaken?" she grinned, her teeth seemed too white for her sallow skin. She had lost all vibrancy, all that left was a washed out coffee stained layer of grit over her pores. Her eyes were dark and puffy, bloodshot . She winked again.
"Whoa ,looks like you've been doing well!" she turned about in my living room admiring the large canvases stacked against the far wall. Running a hand over the large plasma T.V in the entertainment center. Her coat tail billowed as she spun about.
I wanted to run a brush through the mile long tangles of what used to be flaxen blond hair. She used to take such pride in it …now?
"Want something to drink?" I ask massaging my temples with a paint flecked hand.
"Sure whatcha got?" she asked breezing into the kitchen and throwing open the fridge door. "Looks like you spent it all on that T.V" she called. Standing in the light she looked like an animated broom stick. She was thin and frail, the veins in her head was as clear as those of a baby's, blue tinged nerves snaked up her bare arms where tattoos and the long sleeves didn't hide them. They looked stressed from the tiny prick marked tracks which puckered and disfigured her pale flesh.
"What have you been up to ?" I ask as she comes to stand beside me, coke in one hand.
"same ole, gotta new guy now." She grinned broader than before " Says he gonna move us out of here soon as he gets his settlement check."
"Oh ?" I mutter not wanting to know the details but hoping she would tell me, just so I could see her eyes shine as her dreams flutter feebly behind those blue irises.
"Yeah he used to work at the post office , got in an accident or something in his mail truck and couldn't work no more..some kind of nerve damage he said. Could have sued them but his lawyer said he'd get more if they settle out of court." She smiled and winked at me again and I noticed that her eye was swollen up. It only looked like she was winking because she stretched it open wide so she could look at me.
"Yeah ..i guess…" I mutter because I don't know what to say. She seems so happy again. I wish I could tell her how I truly feel about guys like him, but I couldn't utter the words. Couldn't commit myself to taking away the last color in her rainbow.
"How's the little Munchkin?" I ask trying to change the subject.
She grew silent then, pretending to be seriously contemplating my painting. A street corner I could see from my living room window. There was an old man with a bicycle and a shoe shine stand sitting against the wall. Sometimes he pulled out a shiny brass saxophone and played his heart out in rusty squeaks and soulful baritone notes. People walking by would smile and toss coins into the hat he sat on the shoe shine stand, but more often than not they would blank their faces and walk by as if they didn't see him at all or hear his soul calling out to them.
"That man could have been Louis." She remarked staring at a corner of the painting.
"Yeah, he's good" I say as if I know who Louis is then, "listen , if you wanna crash here tonight…"
"Oh thanks , nah … I got a place im going later on." She finally looked up but not at me, she focused on a creeper vine on my computer desk. I had trained it up the entire left wall using nails and pegs to create a sadistic face of mother nature sadly watching us shuffle our feet in the threadbare carpet.
"listen,you gotta tell me whats going on with you ." I sigh flopping down on the small paint stained couch and staring up at her.
"N-Nothing I cant handle." She put on a brave face and sank down next to me. "Its just..well…They took him." She sighed not making eye contact.
"No.." I wanted to cry, I wanted comfort her , I wanted to fight for him but most of all I wanted to do something. But there was nothing I could do.
"They sent this social worker out to the place while I was out. I told him never open the door for nobody but when I got back this woman was there and she had called the police."
She pushed my hands away when I tried to hug her.
"They busted me for possession and solicitation because the john I was with decided to confess his sins to the officer. Punk ass …"
"Can you get him back?" I ask even though I know in my heart that she could never provide him a decent life. She had the knowledge to turn her life around and she let her eye search it out against my far wall.
"You still chanting and shit?" she ask pulling on her hard ass mask once again.
"You know it." I say squeezing her fragile long fingered hand.
"Maybe someday I'll come chant with you.
"You do that. You know you're always welcomed here." I promised
This time there was no hiding the tears. She leaned into me and I pat her shoulders and let her sob into my smock.