When I began asking for story inspiration, the first response came from one of my aunts, and I knew I had to make the story special. Her prompt was simple–Walter, an English coastal town in the 1960s, and aging–and at first I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I held onto it for a few days, and it slowly took on a few faces….
At the airport they escorted me to the side
where I stood waiting to be patted down
and examined. “It’s standard procedure,”
said the man ahead of me in line. He had brown hair
and sunglasses. “Happens to me almost every time.”
We’re sitting at the dinner table
we hear the cars outside, the muffled sounds
of tires and engines, life going on
but above us, silence
no sounds of the planes
that used to cry overhead
like the birds in the wood
around our house, now silent.
INT. UNFINISHED PENTHOUSE – NIGHT
JOE MESSIAH, 34, sits in the center of the disheveled living area staring at an easel holding a stark white CANVAS. In one hand he holds a PAINTBRUSH; in the other a PALETTE full of stale paint.
The canvas was blank. Joe Messiah had been at his easel all night long, had barely breathed, hadn’t blinked since midnight, felt his fingers bent like stone vices around his brush and palette. But before him, the canvas was white.
When the morning sun crested the penthouse windows, he inhaled for the first time in hours and, like trying to bend steel with his bare hands, twisted his head toward the windows. Across the splattered once-white tarp, the open tubes of paint scattered about, the unfinished hard wood floor poking up in places, the sky was vermillion and blue.
He imagined a stroke of one hand, three fingers pressed into a color on the other side. A diagonal stripe and a vertical flutter. A curlicue wind, barely visible.
The canvas, however, remained untouched.