UNIX was out of bed a lot earlier than normal today but she was painfully aware of why that was. She was happy in the home she had bought with the help of her parents. It had hardwood floors and a back yard with plenty of out of control wild native foliage . She lived alone in a family dominated neighborhood in Sellwood. A calming electrical waterfall, she bought on Craig’s List made the yard feel like a jungle . She did like the summers here as they were predictable and warm. This morning was rather cold and much to her liking. She found poetic beauty in the way the fog surrounded her house on this particular morning. Her two roommates, another Craig’s list find, were away for a few days. They headed out-of-town, most likely, for an alcohol filled snowshoeing trip down to Mt. Bachelor. This allowed her to spread out and truly enjoy her passion in life.
She had called in sick for her morning appointment as she was in that mood again. She found herself laying out her well-cleaned brushes in order of the width of the brush and her paints on a side table where she could see them. There was no need to put them in any particular order, as she liked to paint with whatever color moved her. She could pull off a sky of crimson and bright pink even though it never happened in nature and it would come alive on canvas and would be her interpretation of her own little world. The teakettle in the kitchen whistled and she moved to the kitchen and happily put together a pot of tea that warmed her. It kept her moderately stimulated. Maybe it was the tea, or maybe or the simple sound of the teakettle’s whistle that made her put paint to canvas.
She painted at a frantic pace. She loved mixing the colors and blending the land to the water and loved filling in the details that made the clouds sparkle in a certain way, but for today, she was in the mood to paint her much-loved interpretations of the sky and the land. However, for today she had a certain edge to her that had not been around for a while. She was in the mood to paint real people who had entered her life. Maybe this was just an effort on her part to chronicle that she was breaking out of her abyss.
The last couple of weeks had been a struggle for her and today she seemed to be more like herself. She had not talked to anybody in the last four weeks with the exception of the clerks at the local grocery store, ladies on the bus and the people at her so-called job. Her job as a clerk and customer service representative at a plumbing store over in the Hollywood district across town kept her minimal expenses paid. The bob fulfilled one of her axioms in life. That axiom she held close to her said in her life said this. There needed to be a true separation of her work life and her real life. Her clerk job at A Boy Plumbing served that purpose exactly. It was so unreal for her but also an anchor into her sanity. She worked in a man’s world of technical questions about the correct amp rate needed for an extension cord needed to run an in-house electrical source. The other non-technical question were borderline harassment from the male staff. She really did not care as she had little connection to her coworkers. For the time being, she was perfectly capable of answering both questions with an equal amount of bullshit and bravado. She worked to live not the other way around.
However, she called in sick today. Now she was attacking the canvas with more passion than she could remember. She painted the woman she had met on the bus the day before. She vaguely remembered the far away look in her eyes. She had the eyes of an owl and she painted the eyes of an owl. It was the eye of a hurricane.
She painted with passion. For some reason a passion overtook her many times in her life but today she was passionate with the desire to create. Her roommates were gone and she decided subconsciously to take her pants off and just paint some more. She certainly did not want to stain her favorite jeans. She just wanted to paint. The rendition of the old woman on the bus took up most of the morning and well into midafternoon but she only felt like she had worked on this painting for minutes.
She was a mess like the one she had always liked when she was painting. She ignored what was happening around her when she painted and she never really stopped to look at her work until days later. However, today she actually walked to the refrigerator and opened a nice cold bottle of local seasonal ale and she took a quiet minute to inspect her work. Something inside her loved what she had painted. She stood there in her long shirt and paint stained once white underwear looking at what she had painted. She liked it even though it looked little like the Lady on the Bus. It was whom she wanted her to be.
She stood and looked some more and she was suddenly broken from her artistic spell. Her home phone rang and since she had an old fashioned cell phone and she did not have the technical ability to screen calls. She picked up the phone with less than obvious cheer.
She picked it up and the voice on the other end said
“Hi there I have your dog”
She quickly sorted through her life and politely responded. With, “I don’t have a dog.”
“I know because I have your dog”
The phone went blank.
The caller probably was not being rude or melodramatic. As far as she knew, it was not a ransom phone call or anything. Her phone simply had not charged and for now, she had no idea where her charger was. However, she was sure she did not have a dog