Minnie had begun painting when her friend’s head caught fire. She had walked to the shop and simply asked the man for a brush and paint: any paint which could cover the house from front to back – even the gate, please. Then she had stood there in the pale light of early morning waiting for the man to decide. Any colour of blue would be fine. More than fine.
So Tom Atkinson had stared past Minnie’s chaotic curls, and into her bruised heart, imagining the walls of the oblong shaped house, biting the end of his left thumb. He made quick notes with his pencil before leaving Minnie to look after the main shop as he disappeared into his famous storeroom. He returned with two huge cans of paint held resolutely in each hand and a bag of brushes balanced on top of one. These are old stock. You can have them for a small gesture. He shrugged. Ten pounds? It’s called First Dawn. Just one coat it says on the tin and if you get stuck….his voice trailed away into the dust of the shop.
Thanks, Thomas. (As if a curl had shaped itself around his name. )Only his mother had called him his full name and now everyone shortened his name. Tom. It felt solid but overlooked. This woman made him feel discovered again. Her voice shaping itself around Thomas thrilled him. But her heart was bruised. Everyone said so. He had picked the blue paint because it had to be. A first dawn. They would live in a blue house because of him and this knowledge made him smile, made him hope of kisses in every room, all day, every day.
Minnie left before her shy knight could guide her through the door. How unexpectedly strong she was. Quite muscular they said, those that had seen her working in their garden. She balanced each arm against the other. She would surprise her, she would begin to paint this afternoon and their world would become transformed. Minnie counted the steps home, her rhythm more sailor boy than bereft lover.
Thomas watched her back, trusting his reluctance to chase her home. Yet how sad he felt too, as if something had been said between them and then left behind. But not thrown away, he reassured himself. Not thrown away, rather just beginning.
The Woman in Black
Bookshelf 2.0 developed by revood.com