Friday, March 20, 2015

Free Read: Sketching at the Dawn

A little bit more of Phillip and Oscar. Well, a lot of Philip this time, and a hint of Oscar.


Phillip stretched in bed and repositioned himself. He closed his eyes and listened to the steady breathing of Oscar next to him, but after a few minutes he realized sleep would not be returning. As quietly as possible, he slid out from under the covers. The cold brushed his skin and he instantly missed the warmth generated by Oscar’s body, but he was far too awake to crawl back. He’d just toss and turn and eventually wake Oscar, and his love worked too hard to have his sleep disrupted.

Phillip gathered his bathrobe from the hook in the closet and stuck his arms through. He cinched it tight around his waist. It had been a gift from Oscar last winter when the weather turned colder than usual. A gorgeous deep blue color and plush, it was a luxury Phillip appreciated.

The floorboards groaned ever so slightly under his weight, but Oscar didn’t stir and Phillip softly closed the door behind him. The faintest gray color limned the windows hinting at daybreak, but it was over an hour before the alarm would go off. There was time enough to work on a project. Phillip headed to the kitchen to start the coffee.

While he waited for it to finish brewing he gathered his pens and a sketch pad. His fingers twitched to draw. Something about the early morning and the absolute quiet in the house gave Phillip an earnest energy. He retrieved a cup of black coffee before the machine had finished its cycle, pouring quickly so he could return the carafe before the basket over spilled. Then he settled down on the couch.

He usually preferred his drafting area, which tilted at the correct angle to ease stress from his shoulders and force his back into a more ergonomic position during the long hours he worked on projects, but today he wanted to sit and tilt backwards. He wanted to keep an eye on the windows as they brightened.

With the sketchpad propped on his thighs, he sipped at his coffee and contemplated the blank page.

There were several ideas waiting to be explored that he hadn’t yet started upon, as well as a handful of work projects with deadlines looming. But this was an extra hour, carved unexpectedly out of his usual routine. It was a gift of time and he felt it deserved something all its own.

Sometimes he sketched with pencil before committing images to the permanence of pen, but this morning a particular kind of confidence filled him. Even mistakes would be beautiful in their own way. He uncapped his favorite pen, which had a very fine nib and flowed smoothly.

Working slowly and deliberately, he swiped lines across the pages, feeling the texture of the paper as his pen flowed over. This would be a small piece, though centered in the page. The shape of the number two began to form. It had only an outline with blank space within, which he filled with vines and flowers along the top swell. He hatched a thick bank of leaves into the bottom flatness of the number. When the entire inside of the number was stuffed with foliage, Phillip added two bumblebees just outside the outline. They appeared to tumble in flight, delirious with the bounty they’d just discovered inside the number.

Phillip smiled at his own work and stopped. He glanced to the windows and noted the warm wash of light. Distantly, in the house, the bedroom alarm sounded and then abruptly stopped.

Phillip closed the cover of his sketchpad. He’d been looking for something to give as a gift to Oscar for their upcoming anniversary. Their second official anniversary.

This would do perfectly.

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