Words In Color – Chapter 4

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Stevie Nicks, Edge of Seventeen

Words In Color – Chapter 4

“Where ya headed off to?” Amity’s mom looked up from her crochet on the couch.

“Uh, out..side. Just gonna star watch…a bit.” The words hung on Amity’s tongue making her sound less than honest.

Her mom nodded and smiled, a twinkle in her eye as her hands continued to loop the yarn unsupervised.

“That’s my star gazer.” Amity’s dad grinned from the opposite side of the room where he sat watching TV. It used to be he’d jump up to go with her setting up the scope in just the right position on top of the carport roof. She had him to thank for her deep seeded interest in all things stellar even if his enthusiasm had fizzled in the wake of game shows and light beer.

Closing the door behind her, Amity waited a minute, hoping neither parent followed, but more than that trying to calm her nerves.

“Just breathe,” she whispered to herself, then rubbed her sweaty palms against her jeans and stepped out. Amity hoped it would be cooler than the balmy eighty degrees creeping up the back of her neck, but was thankful for the descending darkness, a veil over the rings of sweat expanding under her arms.

Dustin stood in the same spot next to his drawing rolling a piece of chalk in his fingers. A gentle grin spread across his lips at the sight of her. Amity couldn’t help smiling under his gaze as she stopped in front of him.

“Hi.” His voice was deeper than she’d imagined, which made her think he must be older than her.

“Hi.” Amity hadn’t intended to whisper and figured it was a subconscious reaction to her parents being twenty feet away.

The pair stood and looked at each other then at the ground, then back to each other. Amity thought it felt just like an episode from a Jane Austen book.

“I really like your drawings.” Amity sounded nervous and why shouldn’t she. Her insides were trembling as if she were freezing cold.

“Thanks. I like your writing,” Dustin replied with a half smile.

“Really? Thanks.” She debated explaining how this particular poem took forever to write, but decided to save it until she knew he could handle her babbling.

“Yeah. Where’d you learn to write like that?” Dustin looked genuinely interested.

“Well, I didn’t really learn it, like in a class or something. Just started writing one day after reading a book with a horrible ending. It’s kind of therapeutic, writing. Like if I’ve had a bad day or something interests me I just start writing my feelings down. Eventually they turn into stories or poems or just thoughts. Sometimes, if I really want to make an impression I’ll research certain subjects.” Amity caught herself. She was babbling. It was exactly what she didn’t want to do, but Dustin’s expression, posture, eyes, were so open like he actually wanted to hear.

“Cool.” He smiled broadly. Amity thought he could almost see into her soul the way he looked into her eyes.

“So what about you? How did you learn to draw?”

Dustin looked down at the panther’s as if they might give him the answer. Amity thought a look of sadness crept over his face, but in the shadows, couldn’t be sure.

“Not sure. I just woke up one day and started drawing.” His answer seemed simple. So simple it made her feel stupid for asking.

“Weird, huh?” He must have noticed Amity nodding, a look of confusion on her face.

“No, not at all.” She stammered. “I just figured this kind of talent must have been learned to some degree, but when I think about it, there’s no way someone could learn to draw this way. Could they? I don’t think so, but again I don’t know. I don’t think I could, but that’s just me.” Amity stop talking, she said to herself ending the rant before it became a full fledged monologue.

Dustin chuckled. “Sure you could. You just have to practice.” Amity thought he was just being nice, but appreciated the gesture.

“No, I’m pretty sure you’re born with these skills.” She dropped her eyes to his drawing.

“Probably, just like you were born with writing skills.” Dustin’s compliment gave her that warm feeling in her stomach. She wanted to debate learning to write since that’s what every English class was based on, that and reading books no less than a hundred years old.

“So, how do you decide what to draw? What’s your inspiration?” Amity hoped she wasn’t being too nosy, but thought it a valid question, one that would extend her time with him.

“Sometimes I draw things I’ve seen in books or on TV. Sometimes people I’ve seen or maybe combinations of people.” Dustin smiled as he studied her face wishing the light was better.

“Combinations? Sounds interesting, like pizza.” Amity imagined his mind worked like a Mr. Potato Head toy plugging traits from one person onto another.

Dustin laughed. “Yeah, but not as tasty.” He thought her quirky sense of humor fit her name.

The thought of eating brought Amity’s attention to Dustin’s mouth. His lips reminded her of puffy marshmallows in the shape of a heart perched peacefully under his nose.

Dustin bit his bottom lip under the scrutiny. He’d always felt like his mouth was a bit oversized for his face, so sometimes rolled his lips inward hoping they’d somehow melt under the pressure.

“You wanna walk?” He motioned his head toward the end of the courtyard.

“Sure.” Amity answered before thinking twice about walking with a stranger, at night no less, but in her heart she didn’t feel anything strange about him.

Dustin grinned as they turned and started to the far end of the complex. It wasn’t a long walk, maybe two or three minutes, but Amity aimed to make it longer shuffling her feet like a toddler.

“So, where are you from? Any brothers or sisters? What do your parent’s do?” Amity knew she sounded like a reporter, but she wanted to know everything about Dustin.

He stifled a full fledged laugh, a bit taken aback at her jump into this personal line of questioning. “Are you writing my life story?”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend you.” Amity looked down at her sandals.

“I’m not offended.” He smiled into her eyes. She thought for a second they looked the deepest shade of brown, but as he tilted his head toward the street lamp she could tell they were an orange eerily similar to that of the panther’s.

His gaze made her nervous causing a trickle of sweat to escape from under her arm and trace a path to her elbow. She quickly rubbed her arm against her side pretending to scratch her back. Dustin seemed not to notice.

“I’m from Oregon. I’m an only child. My dad works for the airline’s and my mom’s…” He hesitated looking off in the distance as if his mom might appear and save him from the painful admission. Amity watched him wondering if he might finish or leave her to decide for herself.

“My mom lives in New York.” Dustin looked Amity square in the eye, a solemn expression on his face. He wanted to hide the fact that his parents were separated, but couldn’t stand the thought of losing another friend when the truth came out. He didn’t know what it was, but every time he came clean it was like he had the plague losing friends over the course of a few weeks, sometimes days. No, he couldn’t wait to tell Amity. If she were going to reject him then he’d rather have her do it before they were friends and he really hoped they would be, friends.

Amity watched his face for a minute then smiled, “I heard Central Park is pretty cool, but they can’t see the stars like we can.”

A feeling of relief soaked Dustin to the core. “Really? Good to know.”

“Yeah, too many city lights not to mention the smog.” Amity grinned wide. He thought for a second how cute she looked with her cheeks all puffed out. “Take for instance those stars there,” she held her arm in the air and pointed toward a cluster of bright twinkling lights.

Dustin raised his head to the sky, “Orion.”

“How’d you know?” Amity sounded shocked and impressed at the same time.

“I like to read. Plus, Oregon has an even better view.” He winked at her, a sly smile on his face.

Amity felt her heart skip a beat. She thought Dustin might be too good to be true. What she didn’t know is that he thought the same about her.

~ **** ~

Chapter 3

Words In Color – Chapter 1

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Jason Mraz – You And I Both

Words In Color – Chapter 1

Amity leaned her head back against the wall of the apartment building. It was hot. Even in the shade she was sweating like a pig. She wished for a pool, a real one, not the one she created sitting on the vinyl couch suffocating under the glory of a swamp cooler. She’d never been in a steam room before, but guessed it was similar to the feeling in her apartment.

“Sit in the flower bed. It’s not as hot.” Her mom had said, but the thought of creepy crawlies and dirt on her butt wasn’t all that appealing, so she took an old blanket and spread it out as far as she could on either side of her. So far, it was working aside from the June bug that dive bombed her right eye.

Then she saw him. It had been awhile, but there he was, sitting on the sidewalk in front of the carport holding a book in one hand while the other scribbled quickly with what looked like a pencil. She wondered what he was writing, but didn’t have the nerve to ask, so, watched. She was good at that particularly when her subject didn’t know she was there, watching.

He put the book and pencil down then pulled something from his pocket and began marking on the ground of the parking lot.

“Hm, a guy who still likes to doodle with chalk,” Amity thought. For a second she classified it as juvenile, but decided if chalk were available right now she’d be doodling aimlessly on the ground too even if she was on the verge of sixteen.

She found herself mesmerized by him, so intent on what he was doing, drawing. His black hair glinted in the sunlight as he leaned back rolled his shoulders then stretched his bronze arms overhead and looked behind him. Their eyes met as if magnetically bound. Amity froze caught in his stare, but more than that, caught staring. He did a double take and sent a sideways grin before she brought her book up between them.

“Geez! That was embarrassing,” Amity said under her breath. She searched for the place she’d left off reading, but the words seemed unfamiliar as if she’d never seen them. A fact she knew to be untrue as she’d read The Black Stallion at least fifty times.

Amity lowered the book a hair to see if he’d gone back to drawing. He had.

“Oh good. He’s forgotten about me,” she thought surveilling him once again. This time she kept the book perched on her knees to make it look as if she were really reading, but lowered it just enough to see him over the edge.

The boy looked over his shoulder again studying her, maybe trying to decide if she were really reading instead of drilling a hole in the back of his head with her eyes. Standing, he turned facing her then crouched low and continued to draw. Every now and then he’d look up, even paused once for a few minutes and stared in her direction, his almond shaped eyes daring her to look at him for longer than a blink. Amity made sure to turn a page, or two, giving the impression she was, in fact, reading.

After what seemed like forever, but not long enough, he stood, picked up his notebook, smiled at her and walked away. She grinned behind her own book, but doubted he saw being at least forty feet away.

“I hope he doesn’t think I’m infatuated with him,” Amity thought as she watched him disappear around a corner. The truth was, she could hardly keep her eyes from him the whole time he was out here and that went for anytime he was out here, so she guessed infatuated might be appropriate.

Amity waited a few minutes remaining in her position. She wanted to see what he’d drawn, but couldn’t chance him swinging back around and catching her in the act. Not that it would be horrible if he did, catch her. It wasn’t like she didn’t have any business in that area, which she didn’t, but she couldn’t wait until her dad got home and parked over it. A tragedy marked by dripping oil and tire tread.

Finally, she closed her book and stood, making her way slowly to the carport while keeping her eyes fixed in the direction he’d walked. Her heart raced. What would she do, say, if he showed up? She wondered. She thought herself horrible with words, well saying them. She was better at reading them and had a certain knack for writing them, but coming out of her mouth, not good.

She reached the edge of the sidewalk where he’d been working and stopped. It was like nothing she’d ever seen. A beautiful angel, her wings wrapped around her in an embrace, eyes closed in a silent solace as she leaned one side of her face into the feathery pillow. The detail of her being was amazing. She wondered what kind of chalk he’d used to draw such precise features, but decided it wasn’t the chalk to be in awe over.

Her eyes traced the wings, their realistic beauty moving her to reach down and stroke them. She rubbed the dust between her fingers as if it might tell her something about the sketch, the artist, then continued tracing the outline to the bottom. Scrawled in a half circle under a wing was his name, “Dustin Knight.” Amity repeated it in her head a million times further engraving it on her memory. That’s when she saw it, the message, just below his name, two letters, “Hi,” with a smiley face below.

It was already a hundred degrees outside, but she felt her temperature rise another twenty knowing he’d probably written the message for her, the mute girl in the corner pretending to be a statue when she really wanted to be next to him. Embarrassed, Amity jerked her head up quickly glancing around expecting to see him spying on her around a corner, but he was nowhere in sight.

Taking a breath, she relaxed enough to notice he’d left a piece of chalk next to the message, so did what came naturally – wrote back.

~****~

Chapter 2

 

 

Operation Romance Rescue

Maybe since it’s Valentine’s Day or maybe because I also write romance, but have yet to release any true romance novels, or maybe because I’m a hopeless romantic in the truest sense of the term, whatever the case I thought it would be a good time to wax ecstatic about…you guessed it, romance.

Like I said, I have yet to release a romance novel, however, that does not stop me from having loads of romantic influences and opinions mostly on the lives of other people. So with all these thoughts and ideas racing through my head I figure the least I can do is offer a few tips and opinions when it comes to romance.

These tips are based solely on my own experience, or lack thereof, and ideas with a few worked out while standing on the outside looking in on the lives of my friends. Sometimes, it’s easier to see the logic in our lives when others point it out, but I digress.

My first tip is aimed at the Love Lost crowd. This group includes: the one that got away, the one that never was, the relationship you screwed up, the one person you can’t get over. You know who you are.

Here’s a brief example to set the tone: Casual friends living together become more than friends. Their relationship is great, open and straight forward, non-confining, but monogamous. Then there’s an issue, maybe an argument, maybe other friends are involved wherein one side of the relationship makes a smart-ass comment to lighten up the mood. This doesn’t bode well for the other partner who takes it personal and cuts off the relationship immediately, as in “get out” with little or no discussion otherwise. The person whose been cut-off can’t for the life of them, apologize enough or talk any sense into the party who has excommunicated him/her. Nor figure out why their comment was taken out of context when he/she is pretty much known for being a smart-ass.

My plan of Romantack (Romance + Attack):

* Note – the tips that follow assume you want this person back, if not romantically, then as a friend at the very least. If you do not wish to rescue the relationship then proceed to my book page where you can buy lovely stories not about romance.

1. Assess your skills. If you are highly skilled at anything artsy be it painting, drawing, sketching, writing, candle making, underwater basket weaving, etc., know this will be your strong suit and where you will be focusing a lot of attention. Musical ability also falls into this category.

2. Create. Use your artsy skills to create anything for said person who has cut you off. Keep a few things in mind: Was this person partial to a certain type of art you created? (a figure, a scene, style, song, etc.) What did he/she like that you could incorporate into your art? (favorite animal, place, etc.)

Example: If you are skilled in figurative art then I highly suggest you fill a sketchbook with drawings of your true love. Maybe place him/her in different scenes where you both were when together, happy, special places or some place you talked about going like Greece. Seriously, is there anything more romantic? Perhaps, but we’ll leave that for later.

3. Present art. You may find that trying this in person has dramatic effects and may be painful. Therefore, I recommend using the mail option. Either snail or email. Take a photo of said art and email it with a brief message, which I’ll go over later. If you absolutely must deliver this in person, then be prepared, not only to be rejected or met by someone else (Hey! It could just be a friend, don’t assume), but you must know what you’re going to say if anything at all. Believe me, sometimes no words speaks VOLUMES and if you’ve included a note then you’re good.

4. Messages. Is it just me or does everyone get sappy when given a love letter? No, it can’t just be me, so flex your fingers and get out a piece of paper. Yeah, it’s gonna be handwritten. Why? Because it shows how much you care, and that you care at all, especially when considering how little people write by hand these days with computers, cell phones, text to chat. Trust me, the person who receives it will appreciate the extra effort and am I the only one that finds handwriting sexy? The curly tails of some of the lower case letters, the way a ‘t’ is crossed or a letter is slanted. It makes me feel somehow closer to the person I received it from as if they’ve shown me another part of themselves. Maybe that sounds funny, but like I said earlier, I’m a hopeless romantic.

– Start simple, Dear *Name of Person* — Probably drop the cute nickname for this note. I don’t know, to me it seems like if you’re trying to tell him/her that you seriously care then “Dear Pooky Bear” just sounds too…cute. Like you’re still together and just had a little disagreement.

Don’t sound like a regular letter, “How ya doin’?, How’s life?, How’s your cat?” This is a LOVE letter so you are professing love for this person. Use statements like, “I think about you everyday, the way you played with your hair while you read, your singing in the shower, the way you lit up whenever you saw a butterfly then closed your eyes and made a wish.” There are plenty of endearing things you remember about your true love, so let them know. Sure, some are overused and sappy, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few tries. Make it your own, change words, add words, then there’s the Internet if you’re still drawing a blank. 😉

Don’t make it about YOU. Your focus should be solely on him/her, NOT on you and definitely NOT on what you think went wrong, who was to blame, how it should be fixed, etc. etc. If you’re going to place blame, place it on yourself. Something like this, “I blame myself for not listening more, being more attentive, being more appreciative.” I might steer clear of “I blame myself for letting you get away” since it sounds like the person was trapped…by you. Trapped is negative anyway, so something like “I blame myself for getting lost in my selfishness not realizing I was losing you, us.”

Do keep it short. Unless you’re writing a story or poem, don’t go on and on about the relationship rehashing the past and how things were, even if you make them sound pretty – “I remember the times we ate ice cream at midnight. Chinatown was such a blast on New Years.” You hope the person hasn’t forgotten about all of the great times you had together and they probably don’t, but this operation requires you think ahead. You want him/her back because you see a future with them, one that doesn’t include focusing on the past. Keep that in mind when/if you get back together too. Forget the crap that happened in the past and NEVER bring it up again especially NOT during an argument.

Also, if you do write a story or poem don’t mimic your relationship in the story and change names then have the two characters get back together at the end. It might work, but depending on how you write and how soon you give it to the person, he/she may not be ready and alienated even more. Remember, your goal is to open up the communication train, not jump straight back into the relationship.

5. Skill challenged. If you made it this far you’re probably thinking there is no hope for you, but, alas, here is a simple way to start. Create a YouTube playlist of songs that are cool, express how you feel, use the words you wish you wrote. It’s simple. Sign-up for an account on YouTube then surf for songs. Under each video is the option to “Add to,” click on this and select “Add to New Playlist.” Each song after that can be added to the playlist you created by clicking the “Add to” option. In order for your true love to view this you need only go to your Videos tab click on the playlist you created then Share. It will give options such as embed, email, copy and paste URL, etc. Then send it.

Also, if you’re so inclined, creating a video for said true love would be romantic too. For the musically gifted how about a tune? My God that’s romantic! Maybe create a video collage using photos of your true love, places you’ve been, want to go,etc. Word to the wise, I wouldn’t post this on YouTube until you’ve sent it via email. I mean, yeah it’s romantic, but posting photos of your true love could go either way. Know what I mean?

I created a playlist with a sampling of love songs (“I screwed up/I can’t live without you” songs) to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I tried to mix up musical styles because, let’s face it, guys don’t always like soft melodic, sappy love songs. I would suggest looking for songs that have the lyrics on screen to reinforce the message you’re trying to send and…do you really want your true love getting lost in the eyes of Adam Levine or Rihanna and forgetting the whole point of the playlist? Again, just my two cents. (* side note: some videos are prohibited from being played back in a playlist, go figure. So, double check the playlist in your account or send the link to your own email prior to sending to your true love.)

 

So, that’s it. My apologies for going on so long. Once again I’ll tell you, I am a hopeless romantic, which means I could’ve gone on even longer, but, alas, I’ve got books to write. 😉

* Disclaimer – The recommendations listed above are not guaranteed to work. They are only ideas that this hopeless romantic would cave under in the worst of ways. If nothing else, understand these are things my characters would do, say, write, act on, but that’s because I make them. 😉