It is often customary to find me roaming around at night like some tomcat. I left Rosa sleeping in the bed happily drugged as I made my way downtown upon my bike after midnight. After watching a few trains, I visited my favorite convenience store clerk at the the little corner store near the old abandoned cotton mill.
"You won't believe my night," he told me, exasperated, as I walked in.
I grabbed a bottle of milk and a trail mix bar and took my place in line.
"There was a fight in the parking lot and I had to call the police. Some black woman's shirt got ripped off and she wasn't wearing a bra."
"Nice," I replied sarcastically.
The clerk made this little incidence into a long drawn out story and my patience was wearing thin. I quickly excused myself and escaped out the side door. The antics of humans were the last thing on my mind tonight.
I made my way up to the little bench in the park next to the monument to men long dead. The cities skyline stretched out before me like some landscape from a portrait. Colors seemed brighter and more vibrant than normal -- a side effect of my schizophrenia. The big oaks surrounded me in the park seemed like some stalwart sentinels guarding the park and me. They were my friends and I wanted to talk to them -- to let them know they were not alone as they stood the test of time. I didn't realize how much I had missed color the past few months. It was a beautiful, early fall night, and everything in the background was saturated with ambient light and color too: the bright red brick of the cotton mill across the highway glaring at me in the distance. Shadows were also out in play -- star shadow, full moon shadow, streetlight shadow -- all casting their marks upon the ground and I could almost see the moon shadows move with the revolving of that celestial body.
When I remember that I have a whole day to fill I feel nauseous trying to decide how to fill it it. I struggle for a minute to breathe and though there is no breeze, when I look up at the trees they look as if they are swaying and the dark night sky feels like it is swirling down like water down a drain pipe -- black as ink. What I really want to do is to take some magical sleeping pill, curl up in the bed with my one true love, and sleep the day away like nesting squirrels -- her head against my chest as the beat of her heart is felt by the closeness of our naked bodies. It is already 2 a.m. and the day feels entirely too young -- too much time ahead and too little behind. I feel shaky, completely exhausted just thinking about all the hours stretched ahead of me in the day. It is going to be a long day, indeed.
Last night ended with me and my father talking...
"I talked to a local artist that wants to give you lessons," he said. "They are renowned for their railroad scenes."
"Really?" I asked excited.
"I will call her tomorrow and set things set up. We will go next Wednesday and buy your painting supplies. Do you think you can stick with this?"
"Yes," I said elated. "I am so eager to learn from someone and it will give me something to look forward to."
"I really think you can be a great painter with some guidance," my father told me. "I am almost excited for you. You have a gift that I don't have."
My father left and I lay in the bed with Rosa next to my side.
"What are you thinking of?" she asked me, lying there.
"Painting," I said. "I have so many grand and exciting ideas. I am painting in my mind."
"What are you painting?" Rosa asked as she curled up next to me.
"Cabooses, locomotives, old depots and roundhouses," I said. "Glorious fall sunsets forever caught on canvas."
I looked over and Rosa had fallen asleep snoring softly. I kissed her on the forehead and eased out of the bed to start my "day."