A Burst of Color
(Black and white illustration)
John was not an interesting man.
Every morning, he woke up at 7.
He stretched his legs. He put on his suit.
Occasionally John would make notice of the chirping birds outside his window.
John would walk downstairs and greet his wife. She would make a full breakfast every day, yet most times he left for work with only a banana and a cup of coffee.
He always used his favorite traveling mug; it had a misprint of a Microsoft logo that read, “Michaelsoft.” He thought it was hilarious.
He would leave work at exactly 7:30am. He would wish his wife goodbye. He always caught the 8am traffic, and sat in it patiently in the company of talk radio.
At work, he would sit eagerly in his cubicle and tend to his spreadsheet. He’d make calls to clients and staple documents. On his way out of the office, at the end of the day, he would always make sure to thank his intern, Susie, for her quality work.
He would then head home and hit the 5pm traffic, then welcome his wife upon his arrival.
“Good day at the office today, Mary,” John would say to her every night before going to bed.
But on a particular summer night, something clicked inside of John.
Instead of going to sleep at 10pm, he lied awake.
He got up from his bed, careful not to wake his resting wife, and was sure to neatly fix his bed covers.
John slipped on his shoes and robe, and headed down the hallway and towards the haunting front door. He reached towards the shining brass handle. His hand trembled.
John stepped out into the pitch black darkness. His house was surrounded by heavily wooded forests and sounds of the night.
And from the corner of his eye came a light from down the road. He had never looked out his window at this time of night. This light was a surprise.
He walked towards it. The magnetism of the glowing orange light lured him in. His eyes were glued to the effervescent color.
The light brought him to a tiny shed embedded in the forest brush. A candle innocently flickered on a table beside the door.
“Hello?” John quivered into the dead of night.
A rustling noise from the inside of the shed approached the door of the shed, and right as John was about to bolt, a delicate voice peaked through the crack of the door.
“Are you John?” A young woman squeaked through the crack in the door. Her golden locks wrapped around the door frame as her head poked out through the gap.
“Yes… I am,” John said nervously.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a while. Come in. I’m Jill.”
She opened the door and streams of dusty light poured out through the door. Beautiful rays of color from tinted glass illuminated the ground and wonderful paintings lined the walls. Color flowed from one painting into the next as if nothing he had seen before.
“I’m an artist, John, and I am just what you needed. I see your routine every day. I see you with your banana and your Michaelsoft mug. I see the life drain from your eyes as each sun sets. I have to go home. But please take this.”
Jill held out her delicate hands, and in them:
(picture of tubes of paint, paint brushes in dirty hands)
Before John could even reply, she dashed out of the door and it slammed against the frame with a hard thud.
He stood there without words and clutched the white tubes of paint.
When his wife woke up from her steady slumber the following morning, she noticed that John had…
In a panic, she shoved on her slippers, hopped out of bed, and ran for the hallway.
When she peered down the whitened hallway, she noticed something. She noticed a stain on the wall. She followed the stain down the corridor, and it became progressively bigger and bigger as she walked, until the entire wall was blotted.
When she finally made it to the end, she looked out into the living room. Sitting on a chair next to the wall was John, paintbrush in hand, and a smile from ear to ear.
(Illustration: entire house covered with colorful paint)