Minnie crouched by the garden wall checking the progress of a ladybird with light blue legs. She tried blowing on the creature who seemed resigned to her colourful drowning, then lightly flicked at her with a long piece of wet grass from her mouth and the insect topsy turvied on the lawn and then stickily crawled away. Three days since the painting had begun and Minnie had spoken just seven sentences. She had turned into an outdoor thing who softly hummed as her brush removed all signs of their earlier life. The blue swept on in tidal waves, reaching corners, turning aside window ledges, soaking up the sunshine. She could be anywhere on that coast now. A conjuring trick made to bless the eye.
Evie watched the brush stroke away at the grey stone. Her grandmother had bought the house for its granite certainty when her life was ebbing away; she had told her she wanted to die looking at walls that were solid and true. What would she say then to Minnie’s change, her transplantation? Evie’s head tilted slightly in the direction of the window. Where was her grandmother’s voice now? Evie picked at the dog’s ear with her working fingers, weaving the fur, thinking of the first time she had seen a blue house, thinking how Minnie’s mouth still surprised her after all this time. She missed her even from this window. But what a good worker she was. Evie sat watching Minnie paint, shocked and amused by her lover’s defiance. My illness has made you brave my darling. Just you wait.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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