The light streaming through the window fractured and reflected into a million glittering pieces as it encountered the frost flowers spread delicately over the glass. You could feel the cold draft coming in from around the old wood window frame, and you shrugged inside your sweater, rubbing your hands to warm them. Despite the cold draft you smiled to yourself. You had finally done it.
Your eyes followed the rustic brick walls up to the vaulted ceilings, cozy with exposed wood beams. The hanging lights shed warm hues on the paintings and half-finished drawings adorning the walls. Swatches of inspiration littered the large wooden table and workbench. Others littered the floor. This gallery was yours. It was a place you could call entirely your own, away from the intrusions of daily life so you could escape and pull the stubborn images in your head down through your arm and out your fingertips. You transferred them in whatever medium took your fancy at any given time; ink, charcoal, oil paints, or watercolor. The possibilities seemed endless.
You tied your splattered apron tighter behind your back and moved to sit at the pottery wheel, considering the unshaped lump of clay that was waiting for you there. You squinted your eyes and examined it. What are you meant to be? Dipping your hands in the warm water nearby and mixing more water into the clay to soften it, you began.
Time passed both slowly, surreally, and very quickly in this place. It was always a complete contradiction. You seemed to see in slow motion and feel everything intensely. Each detail of your work burned into your mind, staying in your head for days as you decided whether or not it belonged the way it was or if it was meant to be something else. At the same time the days rushed by. You would be shocked when you glanced at the clock that it read 6:30 pm, often not even feeling hunger as you worked. Hadn’t it just been nine in the morning?
Heaving a contented sigh and smiling to yourself, you would cover the clay, rinse the brushes, and wash the smudges from your skin. You’d ponder the day, making plans in your mind for the next, as you walked the short distance back to your apartment. The neighborhood was charming and you felt safe. Occasionally you’d pick up something for dinner at the deli as you passed it on your way home. The elderly owners knew you by name and always asked the same question; “What beauty have you brought into the world today?”
You would smile and thank them, always feeling as if you didn’t deserve such kind works, and you would assure them that you would make sure they got invitations to your next gallery event free of charge. “You feed my stomach and my soul with these sandwiches,” you’d say with a smile. As cheesy as it was, they loved it every time.
Every breath you took in flowed freely and easily in and out of your lungs. Your sleep was peaceful. Your body was calm and strong. There was nothing nagging you. Commissions came and you delivered results beyond what the clients had imagined. There was almost nothing you would change about your life. It was perfect.
Until the moment when you were ripped from it all.