Tracking Pixel

Jefferson Community College Website

"White Blank Page" - Kaley Schrecengast

            Her rage was set against the canvas across from her.  She wanted to scream at it, even if it was just to let it know it wasn’t her fault it was blank.  She had already thrown several of her composition books, getting annoyed at the fact that they were just as empty as the canvas in front of her.  They were just easier to throw, and cost a lot less if she hurt one.  She stormed across the room, in her sweater dress and tights, and finally threw the canvas to the side, releasing it from its home on her easel.  As it tumbled to the floor, she felt as if she had been released as well.

            Her inspiration had left as quickly as he did, leaving her with a blank canvas, a blank notebook, and a broken heart.  She spun around, and the hints of him everywhere only pressed in on her.  He was in her studio, and in her thoughts.  He was the reason she had a studio in the first place.  Giving up, she flopped onto the carpet, her hazel eyes gazing at the ceiling.  Their ceiling, she realized.  He was the reason she painted it.  They had been laying on this very rug, and she told him about her version of Wonderland, and what creatures she met there.  She discussed Icarus, she discussed poetry with him.  They talked about her art and art in general.  A single tear formed in the corner of her eye and slid down her face into her hair.

            It hadn’t always been this way.  She almost missed the past, before he had tried to save her.  She had been normal before.  She used to be an ordinary nursing student, with normal hair.  It used to be long and brown, curling at the edges.  She had no tattoos, and she didn’t have piercings.  She wore normal clothes, read normal books, and had normal hobbies.  Her friends were all interested in the same things she was.

            No, she was sure that he had do ne this to her.

            She had only been going to the craft store that day to get paint and markers for a class project.  She and her group were talking about medicine and care giving, and she was doing her portion on Army medics in WWII.  She had been walking that day, wearing sensible winter boots, a coat, and a hat to keep her warm.  She had a canvas backpack with her to carry her supplies back to her place.  The hand that closed around the straps, that had tried to wrestle it from her, were the reason he had come to her rescue.  She hadn’t needed it, of course.  By the time that the tall, thin man had gotten out of his truck and over to her, she had a heel on the thief’s windpipe and his motivation had shifted from theft to escape.  Her almost champion had called the police, keeping the man pinned until help arrived, and watched her, making sure she was still safe.

            It was that day everything changed.  After the cops took away the thief, the two of them exchanged a few unimportant words, then went on about their lives.  She had gone to the craft store and had bought pain and markers.  As she was leaving, she bought a sketch pad and charcoal to work with.  She had no idea why, but had been overwhelmed with a desire to own them and to use them.  It didn’t even matter that her own drawing skills were limited to doodles that she had done over the years.

            Leaving the warmth of the craft store, she checked her watch, knowing that she could spare some time for coffee.  The walk was short, and she would welcome the warmth and comfort after her harrowing afternoon.  Ordering, she noticed a familiar shape leaning against the counter.  Surprised, she looked up to the tall man from earlier.  He was striking, she realized, as she looked at his jet black hair hanging in his face, and his pale green eyes.  They were piercing, as if her darkest secrets could be revealed with just a glance.

            They had an awkward hello, and the two of them sat and discussed small things together.  The conversation wasn’t important after that.  The words weren’t the important part, he was.  His shape and mannerisms were all important, as well as his voice, his tone, and his laugh.  She understood this.  She was happy that day.  In reality, if she had left then, she could have stayed normal.  She could have gone on with her life.  She would have probably attempted to sketch him from memory and to write about gallant champions with catlike strength, but those would have fallen to the wayside.

            Before walking into that coffee shop, she had been a normal college student.  She had long brown hair, hazel eyes, and sensible ideas about her future.  While she had enjoyed reading, she thought she lacked the creative substance to make anything on her own, besides posters proclaiming bake sales and fundraisers.  She had merely been living, and she was okay with that.

            After that fateful day in February, at a coffee house, she was no longer merely living, but had been awakened by light and beauty.  She hadn’t left him.  Instead, she had asked him over for dinner at her apartment, and he agreed.  The two of them talked a lot, and they watched each other.  It was an easy relationship between them, as if they were never strangers.

            That night, after he left, she had brought out her new tools and had started.  There was no need for training.  Recalling his words, she easily worked by lamplight.  She sketched, she created, and soon, words started flowing.  They awakened with every curved line, with every shaded portion.  She pulled out her notebook, opening it, and letting herself be free.  She stayed up late, eventually drifting off, surrounded by her own mind.

            That next day, she had slept through her nursing class.  This didn’t bother her.  Instead, she got up and decided to try something new.  She had paint after all and there were so many colors and ideas there, far more than what she had thought.

            It was the thought of those green eyes staring at her, his laugh in her kitchen, of him leaning against the counter, looking at her, of him watching her.  A simple thought of him could spark thousands of ideas, burning like beacons of light across the heavens.  She knew then that she wasn’t going to be the same.  She took art classes and sculpting instead of pharmacology and psychology.  She took creative writing instead of technical writing, and she traded textile art instead of life span development.

            The two of them spoke often and were together often.  They were inseparable.  She found herself needing him, of realizing something dark that she suppressed.  It was apparent every time she sat down in her apartment, of every time that she wrote, or picked up a brush.  After not talking to him, she was worthless, and she was incapable of writing.  If she didn’t see him, she couldn’t paint like before.  Without him, it was forced.  It was pointless, and she couldn’t stand it.

            The change was gradual.  It took her months to turn from her old self to her new self.  She started wearing brighter colors and loose skirts and tank tops.  She wore slouchy hats and bright makeup.  She wore tights and short skirts, and she started getting tattoos of important things to her.  She started to wear jewelry that was handmade and learned to make her own clothes.  She cut her hair and dyed it, turning it white with teal stripes.  She got her ears pierced three times each.  She learned how to play the guitar and formed new friends.  She turned bohemian.

            The day she bought her studio was the day that her family starting proclaiming what a bad influence this boy had been on her.  To them, it was his fault that she had given up everything to pursue a dream that would never support her.  She never saw it that way.  She saw days lounging in the studio with him.  They talked just as often there, laying in the carpet and staring at the ceiling.  He had been the one to convince her to paint it.  She had sat on his shoulders, brush and paint in hand, and she had started painting the tiles.  He had stumbled and the two of them crashed to the floor and laughed until they couldn’t breathe.  She remembered the good and kept her secret close.

            It wouldn’t be until a year after they met that she would finally admit the truth.  He had awakened the passion in her, releasing her into a constant state of beauty and light.  He was her everything.  He was her muse, for better and for worse.  She needed him.  There was only adoration.

            He, of course, ran.  He left her standing in her studio, surrounded by his essence.  She had cried, she had slept on the floor, curled up, and fell into darkness.  No, that was worse than darkness.  She was left in nothingness, with no words or voice.  She had no light or darkness.  She was less than living, she merely was.  He had rejected her, telling her that he could never love her.  That he didn’t want to love her.  The idea of being an object of passion frightened him, and he fled.

            It wasn’t that way to her.  She didn’t love him, and her passion wasn’t for him.  She could love another, he could love another.  He had left her broken, and now, she had no will to go on.  For weeks she stayed in her apartment and studio, hiding away the muse, and everything he had created.  She couldn’t escape it.  Her heart was empty, and it ached.

            The change was abrupt the second time.  She got up from lying on the carpet and straightened her sweater dress.  She wiped away her tears and picked up the canvas and composition books.  She quickly picked up her studio and found a paint roller.  Going to her supplies she found the only color she had enough of was a blue, stuck between navy and royal.  She opened the lid and poured it into a tray.  With a shaking hand, she started painting the walls, attempting to erase him from her mind and her heart.  She completely covered the studio and got rid of the last of the paintings she had.

            She was determined to go out and find something to fill in the hole in her heart.  She grabbed a canvas backpack and headed out into the world.  The snow was falling, and she felt like she was being washed clean.  She heard a crinkle in her backpack and opened it up.  At the bottom was a drawing done in pastels.  It was of two cups of coffee, resting on a paint splattered table.  She flipped it over and saw her first admittance of the secret.  It was scrawled there, and she stared at it.  The tears started falling again.  She stood still on the sidewalk and when the car horn blared, the tires screeched, she didn’t move.  She assumed they weren’t for her, safely on the sidewalk where she had first met him.

            The car hit her side, sending her spiraling to the earth.  it punctured her lung and it flooded her heart with blood.  The hold had been filled in the end.  The crumpled piece of paper lay in her still hand, a few splatters of blood resting on it, bleeding in with the painting.  Her last breath was released.

            Her muse opened the door of the truck and ran out to her.  He picked her up, holding her in his lap.  That day, he cried.  He heard a crinkling sound as a piece of paper was crushed between the two of them.  Some say that it was his fault she ended up like she did.  He was the reason she was an artist not a nurse.  He read the back of the piece of paper, and his heart suddenly emptied.  He was filled with an ache that could never fully heal.

            “I might as well be dead again, then try to live without my muse.”

            She would have said he was the reason that she lived, even if just for a little while.