Numbers and faint colors are inked onto the entire canvas. Shapes are outlined but they have not yet taken the depth of the world she wants. She dips her paint brush within the paint container and adds the paint to number two. A golden light appears in what seems to be the steps of a tree-lined pathway. As she adds more paint to each number, the street comes alive. The lights have grown warmer, the cobblestones wetter, the sky bluer and a breeze goes through the trees. She continues to paint one number at a time. She slowly feels her chair dissolving away, her walls of her art room turn into limestone walls. The lamps dissolve into street lamps and the warm lights are reflected off of the stone steps. The buildings that remind her of Paris grow tall around her. The blue-shingled roofs are not yet fully colored. She wonders how she’s going to get up there, she doesn’t see a ladder anywhere. She looks back to see a miniature room in which sit her chair from which she came, her art supplies, and the window looking out to the garden. That painting looks out of place here in this street, she thinks. A nice warm breeze takes her attention away from her old world trapped inside that painting on the wall. She’s alone, although, the warmth of the breeze and the glowing street lights are enough for her. Looking over to the lamp post, she sees that there is a pal of dark gray paint and a brush waiting for her. As she puts the paint brush in the pal, she notices that there’s a small marking in the shape of a number 27, on the sides of the lamp post and the paint pal. She smiles to herself and continues.
Paris, the city of lights. She has dreamed of coming here but how did she get here? The Eiffel Tower’s shadow creeps over the city in the twilight. As she ponders this unfathomable notion of transporting herself to Paris through a painting, she paints until her section of this petit ville is finished. Until the numbers are covered. The pals of paint appearing and disappearing as needed, one number at a time. She looks over at the painting of her art room, it looks like it’s starting to fade. She feels an impulse to look down, and so is she. She looks around once more at the glowing street as the tug at her stomach becomes stronger. Paris is growing smaller and smaller as she’s being tugged back to her old world. She becomes aware that she’s sitting on her chair back in her art room. How can she get back? The answer is in front of her. She tries to paint a corner desperately wanting to go back. Back to the safety of the warm glowing lights and being in Paris. Her frustration growing because it’s not taking her back. She tries to remember how she got this paint by numbers. Her memory isn’t great these days but vaguely remembers an old man who had to have been 100 years old. She was out in the village with her father three weeks ago on an errand but she had wandered off to an old shop down a ways from her where her father was doing business. Taking care not to disturb anyone, she prepared her horse then went in search of the old man.
It was quite early in the morning as she arrived on the street but there were a few early-birds present. She tied her horse off at a most central hitching rail and set off door-to-door trying to find the right shop. Later, after all day of searching, she had begun to lose hope when she happened to see a sign hanging with an interesting symbol that was in the shape of a tree. The roots were as long as the branches so it was a perfectly symmetrical design. The young woman didn’t notice it before. She walked in and there he was with a kind smile on his face. “I was expecting you, Ms. Porter,” he says in his aged voice. She must have looked confused because he went on, “Dreams are not to be ashamed of, so is not wanting to continue life as you are. Change is not for the faint of heart but so is not progressing. And after that day when you first walked into my shop, I could tell you were not happy.” She looks down at her hands which are interlaced, unsure. “How did the painting transport me to Paris? You cannot have known that it would do that. Why did it all disappear when I was finished? How can I stay?” He smiles as he says, “I did not know for sure but I hoped it would. As I said, you are not happy. All your questions will be answered with time.”
To be continued…