#237 Relief

by Carolyn Nielson Crowell

Eleanor tenderly massaged each withered finger. Today she would make art and every finger would need to contribute. She had been the youngest of nine children, seven of whom had survived their childhood. But now, she was the only one left. Unless she kept her mind occupied, she would spend the entire day wondering why.

It always came down to this: her art.

She’d spent the morning gathering materials: broken glass, feathers, tissue papers, and paints in rich tones of red, blue, green and orange.

The intensity and depth of each shade lifted her spirits. Her breath quickened. She’d finished her lunch of cucumber on pumpernickel bread. There could be no further delay.

If only her fingers would stop hurting and be useful. The massage had barely helped. Eleanor held her hands under the faucet, allowing the cold water to splash over them. Finally, relief.

She chose a thin stack of the deep red paper, tearing the pieces until their edges were raw and tattered. Eleanor felt a strong affinity with this pile.

She laid out broken glass shards between feathers, then spread the rough red tissues amongst them. She dragged strings through bowls of black paint, then draped them on top of it all like spaghetti. Stepping back to assess the finished piece, Eleanor sucked in her breath quickly.

It was the accident, William’s accident, three years ago. She’d done it again.

It was time for tea. Today, she’d also have a ginger cookie.

2 comments:

Madeleine Sara said...

Oh I like how you build this story to reveal its tragic ending. I hope her art therapy finally does her some good.

Sarah Laurenson said...

We do keep reliving the traumas of the past. Nice job. I like her choice of medium.