Painting Her World

She let the paint brush glide across the canvas without thought. Instead of controlling the paint brush, it controlled her. Behind, the bristles left a trail of blue tears. A waterfall of worry flowed out of the mind she was captive to.

The thoughts swirled in her mind, layering over top of each other. Mixing, blending like paints, not even identifiable as colors anymore. These thoughts were trapped in her mind with nowhere to go, nowhere to escape. And the only way for her to let them go was to paint. To let the colors take over and spill onto the canvas of white that meant much more than her words ever could.

The thoughts haunted her brain. They were her nightmares, her dreams. Her past, her present. Her thoughts made her. She was burdened with the weight of her world. So she painted her world. She painted her skies, her moon, her stars. She painted in black and white, the drab colors that made up her life. She painted in red, orange, yellow. She painted iridescently to try to bring color into her gray life.

This painting was to be different. It was made of the colors of hope and fear. It was made of happy and sad times. It was resplendent.

She took a step back and glanced at the aleatory painting. It wasn’t random, though. She was only a medium through which her mind spoke.

She went to wash her hands, rubbing them bare of her paint, her past. Her hands became a bare canvas for a new painting.

That night, in the darkness, she felt light. She felt her burdens being lifted off of her. That night, she had no nightmares; rather, she had only dreams of color and hope.

She woke at sunrise, the sky melding together in hues of pink and orange. She took the canvas from where it lay the night before and left the house to go to a familiar building. The secretary asked how she was and received only a smile, but she was used to the silent response. The door read GROUP THERAPY and opened up to a circle of seats, a bromidic setup. She remembered her first time there, months ago. Back then, she was a different person, a shadow, gliding along in the darkness. But now she was the sun itself.

People began to filter into the room and take their seats.

She wondered how each person came to be here. She wondered about the man in the yellow sweater in the corner, or the woman with the crumpled picture in her hand. It was fascinating how these lives were all somehow weaved together in this circle.

She gripped the canvas and took a deep breath and turned it around to face the group. She opened her mouth and was worried for a second that she had forgotten how. But she had surprisingly not, and a sound came from her mouth.

A few turned their heads, just as shocked as she was.

It was the first time she had spoken in years. Hearing her own voice, it was raspy and quiet. With a nervous look around, she was met with smiles and encouragement. She was glad to have met these unique, distinctive, peculiar, idiosyncratic, remarkable people.

A laugh she didn’t know she had within her came out. And there was something infinitely beautiful in it, in this world painted for them.

Featured Image: Beacon by Samantha Keely Smith

Kulsoom Mohammad

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