Girish Joshi

Painting the Picture

3 min read

He is always telling her draw, draw, draw. She is always telling him write, write, write. They seldom listen to each other’s advice, but they always listen to each other nonetheless, every night. And every night they paint the picture of their day for the other. Her words are like brushstrokes, detailed and always colourful. His words are like words, verbose and always philosophical. His palette has only two colours, light and dark. Her palette is like a box of crayons, with fifty bright shades. You don’t have to agree with me all the time, she frowns. He agrees. That’s just how two friends make the other one feel belonged in their ordinary life.

Once she asked him, why do people cry when they are abundantly happy? He has only cried twice in his life, and it wasn’t because he was happy. He thinks for a while and then says because happiness is like a balloon. What do you mean? It’s like an inflated balloon that pushes the tears out by filling all the corners of the soul. There is no space left behind for sadness, so people cry tears of joy. But what if someone pricks that balloon, she asks. He winks at her and says, I’ll give you another balloon. She shrugs.

Sometimes I really think that you speak in circles, she said. Sometimes I don’t know what to say but I want to say something to you anyway, he sighs. C-I-R-C-L-E-S again, she exclaimed and laughed. Tell me why do circles always remind me of you? She asked, being witty. I don’t know. Does it have something to do with the pi? I am feeling hungry. She laughs again, and he thinks, but I wasn’t joking. She says because circles are round, just like you. He makes the poker face in his defence. And then she gives him the brownie that she saved for him since morning. It’s like a brick; he says. I’ll kill you; she says. That’s just how their conversations are, it’s hard to get hold of the head and the feet, but it makes sense to both of them, somehow.

There is so much they still want to talk about. The picture is only half complete. Her brushstrokes still need finishing. His philosophy still needs explaining. The colours in his palette have mixed and he is able to see new colours which he couldn’t imagine before. The colours in her palette feel brighter, but they need rest now. So, she asks him, in the politest way possible. I’m feeling sleepy. Can I sleep? As if she is not asking permission to sleep but forgiveness for leaving him with the incomplete picture. It’s not fair. It’s so early. I also had some questions to ask. But he holds himself from saying that. Good night he says, sweet dreams and take care. Good night she says, imagine pleasant nonsense. They both know they’ll be back tomorrow, to paint again that incomplete picture. She’ll come back with new brush strokes and brighter colours. He’ll come back with new words and different stories. Both of them trying to make each other feel belong. Just two friends painting one picture that will forever be incomplete. As they sleep tonight, both of them will still hope, maybe he writes tomorrow, maybe she draws tomorrow.

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