The following is a prompt challenge presented to me by the uber talented Karen Craven over at Table for One. (Click here for Karen’s challenge post.) The word for this prompt is magnolia, and there is no word count. I’m not sure if Frank from A Frank Angle will take part in this one, seeing as how it’s a single word and he seems to prefer bigger challenges. I do know that Dale from A Dalectable Life will be taking part, so stay tuned for that.
Her laugh was an unrelenting sugar rush.
It shook him to his bones, it thieved away his darkest moments. It was her spirit that lit his fuse, that thrilled him to a time when the world seemed an everlasting fairy tale. He ruminated on the melody that happened every time she walked in a room.
It was in that magnolia smile where he would find his masterpiece.
His art had become the abject destination of curious trawlers and time travelers whose interest in the arts was little more than a promiscuous undertaking. The epicurean bachelors about town reeled in his artwork as if a prized marlin. Trust fund kids dug his pieces just fine, because they’d been grandfathered into high art by boomer parents who relegated passion to their investment portfolios. The theater crowd loved his magnum sized expressions, if only for the conversations they engendered. The outer boroughs feasted on his works in a vain attempt to appear more cultured and less like dilettante impostors.
His compromised relevance was the proverbial bitter pill; to be swallowed for its financial properties but whose lasting effects were a scowling impropriety to the very soul of a true artist. His soul.
His road had been paved with suffering and loss, until one day in the middle of being strangled into obscurity, he was discovered. And it was the result of a piece he’d had little use for. A nude portrait of a woman dining at an outdoor cafe on the Champs-Elysees. His medium had been oil, his time spent meager and his feelings for the work very much acrimonious. It was a fortnight’s worth of painting and drinking and fucking his model- a bored housewife waiting for Godot out in the suburbs. It had been met with a collective shrug upon its opening. His fates were rewritten weeks later when this particular piece caught the eye of a world famous director who gobbled it up, after which he commissioned several more pieces from the artist.
His would become the overnight success story for the requisite fifteen minutes of that famed Warhol premonition. After which he retired to a secluded universe of pain pills, bourbon and the occasional interview with Charlie Rose or a big deal blogger.
He saw himself as a character out of a Horatio Alger novel. He’d lived most of his live like a modern day Van Gogh and gotten drunk on the excesses of fame before fixing on a plateau that would provide him with a comfortable afterglow. His life would become planted to this existence, as if a star in the deepest recesses of the universe; content with having shined for a moment. And then she came along and changed the rules.
They met in a book store and from there it was as if the sun spoke to them in marvelous riddles and the moon in fabulous rhyme. And to this ethereal consequence of a chance meeting, they forged a unified spirit whose ferocity was a religion; whose hopes watered the fertile soil and whose wishes grew them in abundance.
Their romance would never be defined by marriage talk; they were not political animals of all that cliched hubris and its endless paperwork. They would live together as two planets aligned inside their own orbit. With no children to call their own, with no place to call their home, they would abide by a manifest of dreamers . . and they would simply roam.
And then one day in the middle of a deep and not insignificant conversation about Kurt Vonnegut, she told him to paint her. When she suggested such a thing, he fell into the kind of deep and endless love he’d only dreamed about in his previous life. It was an exquisitely painful emotion, love. It was compelling and severe, all encompassing and completely unfair. And to all of this, he was able to tap into its mercurial qualities.
He painted like a fiend preparing for one final heist, for days on end with with little sleep and copious amounts of Prosecco. It was her favorite, and so it would become his lifeblood . . his sugar water reasoning in a world whose soul had collapsed into a Bosch like inferno.
His brushstrokes were pain staking trespasses whose flow was constantly interrupted by the most brilliant awakening of his life. Her long, flowing brunette locks ran scoundrel inside the most lurid parts of his imagination. Her dimples made him feel like a shy little schoolboy. Her cranberry lips and ivory legs were a provocative rapture that made him grateful to be a man. Her hips were borne out of a rock and roll lullaby by Bowie. Her voice was opera on a summer night. Her words, every single one of them, was full of purpose and might. It was in her being that he understood the proverbs. It was in her soul that he understood the rest.
And to this love, never ending, he would paint . . maniacally so. And this would be his final work, because it had to be. Because he had nothing left of himself to give, but this. It was his gift to her, from the here and now to the spindles of that mysterious forever. He would never pick up a paint brush again because to do so would be to give his heart to something other than the one thing that made him true.
Her magnolia smile.