Coffee and Turpentine.

Requiem for an Artist.

Yesterday I got coronamarleyed (an ex-ex-ex-ex-ex tried to make contact). Not the first one, mind you. But Luciano, I still like.

I started flirting back. But deleted the message. Decided to sleep on it instead. I didn’t. Sleep.

No obvious reason though.

Sure, there’s a pandemic and the rent is due. But I still have electricity and water. And WiFi. And my cat.

Obviously, I didn’t wake-up this morning but I did, eventually, reach out for the phone. Check if it was confinement late enough to get up.

Probably was: I curled back under the blankets. And wondered how it was possible. I’ve been overindulging on sleeping tablets lately, you see.

How dare he, I thought? Interfere with my sleep again? Wait twenty years to get a divorce and then ask me to come over for confinement.

I thought why not? If I pack groceries into shopping bags, I can make it look like I went out for a necessary reason.

Be at his place in no time.

But I remembered a few conversations we never had. I remember a few nights he left me crying alone in the dark, I remember begging.

His wife was already pregnant, the cops later told me. They had been investigating me, for pressing charges.

I was working on a painting exhibition. In a real art gallery. And not just any. The trendiest in town.

I hadn’t told anyone. Save my best friend. I had been painting day and night. Starting, again and again, almost the same piece.

The curator was a lady. Perhaps fifty. She had explained she would be overseas for the next couple of weeks.

Got a call though. Her assistant, he said. Wanted me to come over the next day. An important document to sign. Couldn't wait.

Important, he said.

I agreed to coffee. But not to what happened next. He told the police there was a knife on the counter I would have used if had really raped me.

Until this morning I didn’t remember the smell of turpentine. And didn’t understand why, ever since, painting hurts so much.

And loving too.