Chapter 12 -- Painter's Block

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Chapter 12 – Painter's Block

Mary sat on a stool eyeing a blank canvas in front of her as if it was the most intimidating object in the world.

It was the day after her weird run-in with Cade, and she'd decided to go to the studio to see David and try to get her mind off everything. As soon as she'd appeared in the doorway earlier that afternoon, David had noticed how stressed she looked and had handed her a paintbrush and palette, ordering her to paint. "It'll help clear your mind," he'd told her.

But now as she sat in the back of the studio in front of an easel with an unused paintbrush in her hand, David's instructions seemed to be having the opposite effect on her, and she couldn't help but stare at the canvas in total frustration.

David noticed her from the opposite side of the room and walked over to her. “Whoa there,” he said, chuckling at the way she was glaring at the canvas. “It’s not going to bite you, you know.” He stood next to her and handed her a red popsicle. “Thought you could use one of these,” he said, then opened a green one for himself.

She took it from him and peeled the wrapper off. “Thanks,” she sighed.

He sat down on a stool next to her and turned his body toward hers. “So, what do you call this fancy piece of art?” he asked, leaning his face close to the canvas and putting his hand on his chin as if he was studying a famous painting in an art museum. After a while, he spoke again. “It’s very avant garde,” he said in a snobby accent, as if pretending to be an art critic.

“Hey, don’t make fun of me,” Mary said, playfully jabbing him in the shoulder with her hand.

He reached up and rubbed the spot she had just hit. “Ow, that hurt!”

She rolled her eyes at him.

“So, why haven't you painted anything?” he asked, gesturing toward the untouched canvas again.

“I just can’t think of what to paint," she said.

It was true. She’d been sitting there for at least 20 minutes staring at the blank canvas, unable to move her paintbrush across it. She didn’t know where to start.

“Well, maybe that’s the problem,” he said.

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe you don’t need to think at all. Maybe you just need to pick up your brush and let go of all your thoughts.”

She stared at him as if he was crazy.

He stood up from his stool and laughed. “You know what? I have the perfect cure for your ‘painter’s block,’” he said, then disappeared into the back room without saying another word.

Mary stared after him with a clueless expression, wondering what tricks he had up his sleeve.

Within seconds he was back and was now spreading a large white sheet across the floor. Then he went into the back room once more and returned with several containers of paint, which he placed on the floor next to the sheet.

“What’s all this …?” she asked.

“We’re going to create a masterpiece,” he said. He quickly jogged up the stairs to his apartment above the studio, and when he came back he was holding a baggy T-shirt. “Put it on,” he ordered as he tossed it over to her.

“Um, alright …” she said, then slipped it over her head. The T-shirt went down past her shorts and completely covered her clothes. “But … why?” she asked.

He laughed and stepped toward her. “’Cause things are about to get messy.”

It struck her then that he’d given her the shirt so she wouldn’t get paint on her own clothes.

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