They said that painting would be therapeutic.
Could painting be therapy?
What was I supposed to paint?
They didn’t say. There were no directions. No preselected colors. No set lines for me to fill in.
They gave me a blank canvas, oil paints, charcoal, paintbrushes, sponges, water based paints, pastel paints, bold paints, yellows, greens, blues, reds, black.
I had a whole hour to myself.
A whole hour of unstructured paint time.
I could paint whatever I wanted.
I could color it however I wanted.
I could paint blue apples and red tangerines and no one would correct me and demand that I try again.
This painting session was therapy.
Ther. A. Py.
There. For. Me.
And no one else.
I knew what I wanted to paint.
I wanted to paint him.
Just as I remembered him.
So, I picked up the paint brush and the black oil paint.
I painted a thin line for his jaw.
Ovals for his eyes.
Straight line for his nose.
A curve…a soft and easy curve for his mouth.
I remembered how easily that curve had smiled.
How easily it had lied.
How easily it had spoken the truth
How that scream had so easily left his mouth.
I shook my head.
This black and white portrait was not how I remembered him.
I rinsed the black ink off my paintbrush.
Black was the color of peaceful, blissful sleep.
Black was the color of a good death.
And his death had not been a peaceful sleep.
His death had been well earned, but not good.
I waited a few minutes.
Waited for the blackness to set into the canvas’ fibers.
I dipped my paintbrush into the red paint.
I drizzled the red down his canvas white forehead.
I splashed it on his face.
Slashed it on his throat.
Over and over and over and over and over and over and over….and…and…
It was all over.
He was done.
And my therapeutic painting hour had reached its end.