Sketches – 62

Good morning, love.
How’d ya sleep?

Like a baby

So, you slept well?

No, I woke up
Every two hours crying.
Yes, I slept well

My, aren’t you cranky

No, I just…
I just had some work stuff
Come in last night
I’m trying to get done now.
You know, before
I actually go to work

So I’m bothering you?
Am I in your space?
Do you feel violated?

… okay that was funny.
No, this is just my
“I’m working and trying to concentrate” face

Kind of scary.
I don’t recommend you overusing that
If you can help it

You are up early…

I’m going with our niece and nephew
To the zoo today

Don’t they have school first?

It’s part of school.
I am a chaperone

Don’t they usually want
Responsible adults?

… okay that was funny, too.
My sister couldn’t go, so I volunteered.

Cool. Hope you have fun.

A bus full of second and third graders.
I’m sure it will be… something.
Maybe fun

Bring me back something
From the gift shop

Maybe a sloth, to commemorate
How fast you are getting that
Work done

Or maybe a tiger.
You remind me of a tiger

Because…? Is that a sexual thing, or…

No, it’s supposed to be a compliment.
I failed compliments in school, though.
I “didn’t bring proper materials to class”,
Or something

I can teach you how to give a compliment,
If you would like

Sure

Sweetheart.
Enjoy the zoo.
It’s so good of you to take your sister’s kids there.
You are one of the best people I’ve ever known.
It’s one of many things I love about you.
The depths of your awesomeness are … unplumbed

If I had actually said that,
You wouldn’t have believed it.
That’s what we call “overselling”
Where I come from

Fine.
I’m not the one who failed compliments
Is all I’m saying

Enjoy the zoo

Enjoy not getting your work done

Sketches – 61

What came before, stays before.

You really enjoy the sun, don’t you?

Does it look like I’m enjoying the sun?

Yes, rather

It is an absolutely gorgeous day,
You have to admit

It is and I do, indeed.
So what’s on tap for you
The rest of the day?

Work.
I have three commissions now.

Three?
I only know about two…

Yes, I got
One in over last weekend.
You and I just
Haven’t had a chance to talk

What’s the nature of
The latest one?

No subject or parameters,
OTHER than it be large

What’s the largest you’ve done?
Was it “Savannah”?

No, it was one called “Entropy”.
That’s from before…

I forget there was a before.
There really shouldn’t be, you know

No time should have existed
Before you?

Correct

Didn’t you have a before?

Yeah, but, technically,
It wasn’t before me

But it was before me.
Are you saying
You should be more important to me
Than I am to you?

This conversation
Has landed in a bad spot.
Wow, the sun feels good.
How large does this new commission
Need to be?

Eight feet wide.
Can be any height

Ideas about subject?

Yes, I am doing
A junkyard that’s nothing
But former fad or trendy things

That sounds fantastic.
I love that idea

Yes, well.
Even though I just mysteriously
Popped into existence when I met you,
I have the occasional good idea

I’m not living this down,
Am I?

You’re lucky it’s such a nice day.
I’m in a really good mood.
What are you up to after this?

Just headed back to work.
Everyone’s coming in today

Time home?

Not too late, 6 or 6:30 at the latest

I may try and paint outdoors.
This is too good to waste.
When will your project be done?

End of the month.
If we’re lucky.
Of course, I am lucky
everyday

Digging yourself out of the hole.
Good use of time

Hey, I didn’t just
Pop into existence yesterday

Sketches – 60

Sister moves.

How long will you be at work?

Pretty much until tonight.
It will probably be this way
Through February.
How will you spend your Saturday?

Helping my sister move.
I’ll go ahead and have dinner with them,
I guess

Sorry.

No, it’s good, actually.
She needs the support.
And you need to work.
Who all is in this weekend?

Everybody. The whole team.

What will you eat?

We have Greek food being delivered.
How is your sister? The kids?

The kids are okay, but,
I don’t think they’ve really grasped
What’s happening.
To them, it’s like, a cool new place to live
And explore.
And, it’s not like their dad was around that much.
But it will hit them, at some point.
And she — well, she’s very sad.

I can understand why.

Yeah, grieving for a relationship is like
Any other kind of grieving.
It pretty much sucks.

Well said.
When are you headed over there?

In a few minutes.
I’m dressed like it’s summer, so I’ll need to change.
I like to pretend it’s summer when
It is this cold

I like to pretend its already daylight
When I’m leaving for work on weekends, so
I get that

Are you okay?

Not really, no, but,
You know what’s been going on here.
I’m focused on helping the people who
Are even more shaken up by the firing.

You aren’t sleeping

No, that’s always the first thing to go with me.
But I’ll be fine, I just
Have to keep moving, for now.
I also need to go.

Alright, love.
I’ll see you tonight.

Give your sister and the kids
A big hug from me.

I’ll give the kids a big hug.
I’ll shake my sister’s hand for you.

You are a mess

Sketches – 59

What’s new on the “ladies’ vacation” front.

How do you like my new hair?

Uh… it’s… it looks…
Really… different?

Nah, it’s the same.
My sister was
Holding it up above my head
For the photo.
We thought you’d enjoy

So you all are having fun?

Yes.
Very much so.

Where was that picture taken?

From the waiting area of a place called
“The Sands of Time Day Spa”.
I kept calling it
“The Sands of Iwo Jima Day Spa”
Which sounds better to me.
She preferred
“The Edge of Night” Day Spa,
Which also has a nice ring to it.

What did you get done there?

I got a manicure, a pedicure,
And a facial.
Then we each got our hair done.
It took hours.
It was heavenly.
Or, at least, it had
Heavenish? Heavenoid?
Properties.

I wasn’t going to quibble over
Your word choice.

After that, we went to a local mall.
We took photo stall pictures.
I hadn’t done those since
I was a teenager.
I’ll send you some.
They’re digital now.

Did you get matching tops?

Oh, yes, those are a must for
A photo stall shoot.
As is serious attitude.

Looks like you got
The “glamour shot” makeovers, too.
Do you ever miss modeling?

Not even once.
Not for a second.
She is the one who should have been
A model.
I mean, look at her.

Honestly —
I notice that she’s in the pictures.
That’s about it.
I like your sister,
She’s very serious and accomplished.
But still, she’s…

… She’s… what?

Kind of uptight.

You think?

I don’t know how her husband
Deals with it.
Nothing ever seems to bother that man

You’d be surprised:
A lot of things bother him.
Things aren’t that good
With the two of them

Not that good?
How bad?

Like, she’s talked to a lawyer
Kind of bad

Is he cheating on her?

Short answer is: yes

Wow. I am…
Stunned.
Seriously.
I had no inkling.

Neither did I.
You know my mom thinks
Her life is perfect.
She works at a bank.
A real job.
This will kill mom.
Although she never really liked
John

So when she proposed this trip,
Was it so the two of you could talk?

Yes.
And to do what we’ve been doing.
Being sisters.

I understand now.
Well, is she okay?

Oh, yeah, she’s a rock.
It’s their kids that are her
Main concern

Wow, yeah.

She said, one problem with
How good they are at hiding their troubles is
How shocked everyone will be —
Especially the kids.
They don’t know.

I bet they have some idea

Well, Ellie might.
She doesn’t miss a trick, even if
She’s only seven years old

Will she be okay with me knowing?

Yes, she asked me to let you know.
She knows how much you love the kids.
“Even if he hates me,” she said.

I don’t hate your sister.
Never. She just makes me feel like
A layabout

Ooh, breaking out the Depression-era words.
You know the way to a girl’s heart

So you two are still having fun,
In spite of all this?

Look at the pictures.
We are definitely having fun. Besides,
“The behavior of others does not
Define who we are,
It defines who they are.”

Hey, I wrote that

Yes.
I like it.

Well, take care of her.
It can’t be easy, even if
She doesn’t show it

You know I will.
After my fashion.
After our fashion, really

Sketches – 58

Sister trips. And coats.

Alright.
We’ll be back in four days.
My sister is driving, so
Lord knows when we’ll get there.

I hope you have fun

We should.
Her driving is always
An adventure in itself.

You look fantastic
In that coat, by the way

Thank you.
However, no one notices
How I good I may or may not look
When I am with my sister

No one notices
How I look, ever

That’s not true

It’s pretty true.
I’m a guy.
In almost any group of 100 men,
There will be six to eight that
All the women think are hot.
The rest of us are just…

Just what?

Serviceable.
Or, not.

Serviceable, huh?
So I “settled” when I married you?

No, but you didn’t marry me
For my looks

How do you know?
I’m an artist.
I’m very visual.

So are you saying
You married me for my looks?

Right now, I’d say,
Yes.

Well, okay.
I like that.
Anyway, you look fantastic in
That coat.

And you look fantastic
In those sweatpants and
That jersey.

This is turning into
My favorite conversation, ever.
Do you two have any kind of agenda?

So far, it consists of
(1) get there,
(2) figure out what we want to do,
(3) come home, eventually.

Whew. That’s a pretty tight agenda.
Think you can fit it all in?

With her driving,
I’m only concerned about
Item 1.

Are you going to work any
While you’re there?

Nope.
All my paints are here.
I am bringing a sketchbook, but
That’s not really work

Well, it’s a beautiful place.
And it’s about to be more beautiful
With you there.

Aww.
And… that would be her.
Goodbye, love.

Bye, sweetheart.
See you in four days.
I’ll try to get all the pizza boxes up
Before you get back.

If you’re getting Old Chicago,
Save me some

Deal

The Windmill On the Plain

“I wish I’d made more difference,”
She told me, plaintively;
“You have,” I said, “most certainly.
At least you have with me.”

It’s like the windmill on the plain,
Who turns for lonely hours,
But never sees the end result
Of all its transferred

Powers