Words In Color – Chapter 3

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Goo Goo Dolls, Here Is Gone

Words In Color – Chapter 3

Amity awoke to a beam of sunlight, like a laser, across her eyes. She raised up on an elbow squinting at the curtains, which she was certain she’d pulled closed last night, and noticed a small crack in the fabric. Small maybe to the naked eye, but under direct sunlight she thought it more like a huge gap.

“Musta forgot to pull ’em all the way last night,” she mumbled laying back on her pillow. Amity always left her curtains open until she could see the moon. Then sat on the chest under her window and watched it, glowing, breathing, pulling words from her. Words likened to prayers. It was a ritual she’d started as a little girl after her dad brought home a telescope. She still remembered the bruise in the shape of a circle around her eye from staring at the moon for so long.

Rolling to face the opposite wall she decided the curtain adjustment could wait. Besides, it was Saturday and she wasn’t getting out of bed before nine.

Holding her eyes tightly shut she tried to re-enter her dream: angels floating in the sky singing the words she’d written to Dustin while he sketched for her. Wacky she knew, but she could live with that as long as he was in it.

His eyes so kind, smiling at her while he drew images that magically appeared in the sky – a bear, elephant, butterfly. She thought it odd how he never took his eyes from her and yet all of his drawings were perfect, “Just like him,” she smiled at his image in her mind.

As she dozed, a spark of sunshine hit Amity in the face reflected off of a silver bracelet hanging over the side of her dresser.

“Oh, come on!” She sat up throwing the covers off. Stomping to the window she geared up to show the curtains who was boss. Grabbing the fabric edge of each, she yanked them together pulling not only across, but down. This proved a strain on the already bowing bar responsible for upholding the heavy window treatments, which caved under the pressure landing in a heap at her feet.

“My God. Really?” Amity thought the situation could’ve been a Murphy’s Law shoe-in had the bar actually hit her on the way down. She kicked the heap off her feet and resigned herself to the fact that the universe obviously wanted her awake.

Stepping to the window she cupped a hand over her eyes and looked out across the grassy lawn. Sometimes she spotted the French dog, for lack of a better title, who took it upon himself to go number two on the sidewalk just like the dogs in France at least that’s what her friend Sasha said. She wondered how she’d managed to avoid stepping in a steaming pile and chalked it up to the fact the dog was so fat he couldn’t waddle to this side of the courtyard.

Sliding open the window Amity breathed in the scent of the morning, fresh and dewy, before the sun strangled it with a deathly heat. Raising her arms she arched her back and stretched as high as she could, then lowered her hands to the window sill as her eyes came to rest on the sidewalk below. She thought for a minute she’d left her blanket outside, which was now on the sidewalk looking like a heap of dirt. Moving to the side peering only through the glass, Amity caught her breath, “Another drawing from Dustin,” she whispered, the warmth of her breath fogging the window.

Her heart raced as she turned to throw on clothes and get a better look. Bolting down the stairs, she stumbled on the second to last step and almost went head long into the front door, but managed to grab the banister and correct herself before spraining her ankle, a talent she’d perfected at least a dozen times in the last six months.

“Well you’re up early for a weekend.” The voice of Amity’s mother caught her by surprise.

“Yeah, well you know what they say.” She tried to slow her pace and excitement. The last thing she needed was her mother standing beside her wondering who’d drawn the graffiti in the middle of the night.

“No, what do they say?” A look of intrigue spread across her mother’s face.

“Uh, the early worm gets a head start on the bird.” Or whatever the saying was, she thought.

“Good one! I’ll make that the quote of the day on my Facebook page.” The statement made Amity flinch and by the look on her mom’s face, she knew she was serious.

“Please don’t. Isn’t there some old people stuff you can post?” She didn’t really mind her mom quoting her, it was the whole “I’m so hip because I post on Facebook” attitude that made her a little nauseous.

Her mom pursed her lips and wrinkled her nose as if she were thinking then said, “Naw, besides I’m not as witty as you are.” She flashed a smile at Amity who rolled her eyes while silently accepting the compliment.

“I’ll be back in a minute.” Amity reached for the door maybe a little too eager as she pulled against the lock still firmly in place.

“Where ya goin’ in such a rush?” Her mom sounded concerned.

“Just outside for a second. I think I forgot something.” Amity finally twisted the dead bolt open and was out the door before her mom got on a full roll with twenty questions.

Approaching the chalk drawing Amity’s hunch was confirmed, it was indeed a black panther, in a standing position, a cub between its front legs. Behind them a setting sun in hues of orange, yellow and red, made the cats seem all the more black as they popped from the picture in 3D style. Every muscle was outlined with such precision, every facial detail highlighted making the animals seem as real as if they were standing right there. The mother’s orange eyes stared at her as if trying to tell her something yet at the same time, looking right through her.

“Black panther’s,” Amity mused to herself. She’d read about their symbolism some time ago in a history book. Now what was it about them, she wondered. She remembered the guardian part, ability to know the dark, which she found kind of redundant given its black color and the fact it was a cat, then there was something about it symbolizing the feminine. She knew there was more, but for the life of her couldn’t think, not now.

Her mind was blank standing their in awe over their beauty, their silky black bodies reminding her of Dustin’s hair. Amity’s heart skipped a beat realizing the location again, just under her window. She felt her cheeks flame with embarrassment at the thought of him creating this especially for her, in the middle of the night, while she slept.

Images of Romeo and Juliet floated in her mind as she pictured the scene, a smile gracing her lips. Realizing she probably looked like a romantic idiot she quickly scanned the courtyard for his face and was relived not to see him. She looked a mess and felt sure her complexion matched the red Coca-Cola t-shirt she was wearing.

Heading inside she made a b-line for her bedroom where she pulled books from her shelf detailing symbolism, mysticism and ancient tribes. Pouring over each she soaked up everything she could find, and make sense out of as it pertained to black panthers, feverishly jotting notes in her journal. She had to respond to his effort, but she wanted it to be deeper believing it only fair since he’d shared a piece of himself through his creation.

Moving to her window Amity peered at the drawing again. “So powerful,” she thought. She found it interesting he depicted the mother in a stance that evoked protection yet the look in the cub’s eyes seemed somehow fearful maybe of something in her. Crouched low its head tilted up toward her face, its eyes questioning, even pleading.

Squinting Amity noticed one of its small paws wrapped around the outside of the mother’s leg as if trying to hold on, stop her from moving. “A piece of him,” she whispered to herself.


 I move through the darkness, welcome its solace, bask in the solitude. Here I find the light, one which once I did not understand being of great sorrow and fear. Yet time has opened my eyes, awakened my senses, allowed reclamation of a hope I’d exchanged for death. From the night I emerge, feeding on knowledge, blessed with truth, graced with power.

Amity wondered when Dustin would come as she stood looking out her window. It had taken her five hours to write the four lines, but that was nothing compared to the painstaking thirty minutes it took her to scrawl it next to his drawing. She’d like to blame it on the chalk, but really it was her fingers or more precisely, her nerves.

She second guessed almost every syllable she wrote wondering if it made any sense or, more importantly, expressed what she felt about him. Well not really him because she didn’t know him, but the him she saw in his drawings.

Amity didn’t want to miss Dustin reading her poem, almost as romantic as him drawing for her, so sat on the chest under her window, eyes glued to the courtyard. She tried to read, but quickly tired of losing her place between glancing out the window and fantasizing about seeing him, not to mention, re-reading line after line.

It was almost seven before he returned. Spotting his black hair, she caught her breath and sat up straight looking over the side of the window sill just enough to see him. Wearing khaki cargo pants and a white button down shirt rolled up at the elbows, she thought him a vision of perfection.

He stood over her poem then knelt in front of it as if to get a better view. Amity had to admit, she did write smaller this time trying to fit all of the words in one cement square.

Dustin looked up at the window and caught Amity staring. Her face went hot. She debated ducking out of sight, but decided against it. He smiled at her then waved. Amity returned the gesture. For a few seconds they just stared at each other, grins on their faces, unsure of what to do next. Then he motioned for her to come down.

Amity’s eyes bulged, “Us, meeting face to face?” The thought made her sick with excitement, but there was nothing she wanted more.


Chapter 2                                                                             Chapter 4

Words In Color – Chapter 2

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan – Silence

Words In Color – Chapter 2

In the still of my world, when the turmoil called my life seems, at last, unbearable, I wrap myself in the one saving grace I own. One day, they’ll take me far from here, show me truth, teach me love, give me peace.

Dustin stood over his drawing in the parking lot reading the words for the umpteenth time digesting every syllable as if it were the water of life. He hadn’t expected her to reply, except for maybe a “Hi,” but she had and written a poem no less. A smile parted his lips as he read her name, Amity. It reminded him of the horror movie. He shuddered to think a parent would name their kid after such a horrible thing. “Poor girl, no wonder she’s like a hermit,” he thought.

He’d noticed her a few months back when he moved here. Another apartment to add to his sketch book of broken promises, right behind the promise of a house with a yard big enough for a dog, a bike and set of oil paints, but that was before everything went to hell. Before his mom left.

Dustin didn’t half blame her. If she would’ve asked him to go with her, he would have, tired of the screaming arguments, the tension, the sadness. Now there was just sadness mixed with the occasional tension about his grades and why they weren’t higher than their regular A and B status.

Turning toward her apartment Dustin wondered if Amity were even there, maybe watching him out the window. Not that he knew which window was hers, but guessed it was the one upstairs, just like his. He squinted trying to get a better view through the darkness, but quickly decided it was too late for anyone to be up doing anything, much less observing the grounds.

This was his favorite time to be out, eleven or later. No one to bother you, no over bearing heat to make you wish you were dead and no sound. The silence was his peace, not that he didn’t get it at home, but this was different. This silence made him feel alive as though within his being began to grow the person he really was, wanted to be.

Visions of paintings, sketches, sculptures floated through his mind each distinctly different, but all his creation. He took out his chalk, knelt to the ground and studied the surface. The sidewalk was smooth. Better than the carport, but more foot traffic. He could only hope the dyslexic dog didn’t choose this spot to leave his deposit, a horror Dustin discovered a few weeks ago when exiting his apartment in a rush to get to school. He still couldn’t figure out why the dog went on the sidewalk instead of stepping four inches into the grass.

He remembered how the day stunk, literally. Without an extra set of shoes he was stuck. Wiping it in the grass didn’t help except to push it further into the grooves on the bottom of his Vans. Even turning the hose on it seemed a waste of time given the water pressure wouldn’t go higher than a dribble. So off he’d gone to school, soggy shoe smelling of dog poo. If there was anything that said, “Stay away from me,” louder than that, Dustin didn’t know what it could be.

Pulling an orange piece of chalk from a small case he began to draw. For some reason he thought of his mom. He wondered where she was. Thirteen months and three days ago she’d sent a postcard from New York. Her words seemed light and airy, “Getting to know the city. It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait for you to come visit.” Visit. The word made him feel less a part of her life than he ever had. Did she really only think of him as a visitor? The thought made him pause remembering the picture on the card, an aerial shot of Central Park. Sure it looked pretty, but there were lots of parks where they lived in Oregon. Heck, who needed a park when the entire forest was your backyard, Dustin wondered.

Putting a knee down and stretching his arm as far as he could to the left, he finished the outline of the drawing, which now spanned two and a half sidewalk squares. Next he grabbed white and started another sketch in the center. His hand flowed freely as if he were tracing lines already on the ground.

Dustin wasn’t sure why he could draw the pictures in his mind, he just knew that if he didn’t he couldn’t focus on anything else. They were like firefly’s trapped in a jar aimlessly throwing themselves against the glass until someone let them out. Sometimes he thought it a curse, up all night drawing until his hand hurt so bad he couldn’t even do his homework. Yet he felt somehow fulfilled if not relieved, to give them life.

The cool air felt good on the back of his neck. He leaned on his hand and looked up at Amity’s window. For a second, he thought he saw the faintest flicker of light, but decided it was a reflection of the street lamp in the window. Grabbing a handful of chalk he began to fill in the sketch using various colors. He liked this chalk. It actually stuck pretty well without smearing.

Dustin worked peacefully filling in details and accents from his vision. Finishing the final touches he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning from his work he strained to see who or what it could be. The light was horrible and his eyes were having a hard time adjusting, but whatever it was couldn’t be bigger than a cat.

“Probably after a mouse,” Dustin thought returning to his work. Not more than a few minutes later the noise maker made itself known running across the chalk art leaving muddy footprints in its wake.

“Damn it!” Dustin whispered under his breath looking after the cat as if it might offer an apology.

Licking his finger he began to rub the mud off wiping it on the grass. Luckily it was mainly across the top of the sketch, but still annoying. He managed to get most of it off then colored over it using the orange chalk again, which didn’t entirely hide the obvious paw prints, but he hoped she didn’t notice.

Dustin sat back and looked at his creation. He nodded, a grin on his face. He was pleased despite the cat’s contribution. He laid back on the grass, his hands behind his head, and looked up again at Amity’s window. He wondered what she might do when she saw it and wished he could see her when she did. For a minute he debated spying on her, but decided it was dumb since he had no idea when she woke or came outside.

Laying in the still dark night Dustin was reminded of his home in Oregon. It wasn’t odd for him to sleep outside in the summer, alone, under the stars with only a blanket. After getting the hammock it was even easier. He could fall asleep right now if he wasn’t afraid Amity would find him under her window in the morning, drool running down his face.

The thought spurred him to collect his chalk and head home. As he stood to leave he looked toward her window one last time and smiled as if she were watching him through the curtains. He turned to leave contemplating when he should come back to check on his drawing and not for more paw prints.


Chapter 1