In my kindergarten art class,
sunlight dripped through fingerpaint-covered windows.
I learnt the primaries: red, blue, yellow. I could make the whole rainbow out of three colours.
I was older when I started telling myself that I only looked at the female anatomical models for reference. I had so much experience dressing quickly and keeping my eyes on the ground in the locker room, but this girl made me understand why they say
“pretty as a painting”.
You can’t touch museum art.
We have the same lotion. It smells better on her, it makes me think of cookies and old Paris cafés where the great painters had lunch. The colour palette I bring from home is so dark, but she makes me lean towards romantiscism.
I can’t draw a straight line anymore but it’s okay; her hair is naturally curly.
A boy called her weird yesterday, and I wanted to tell her that I have spent hours practicing shading to recreate the light in her eyes, but that would make it obvious I’d been staring.
You’re not supposed to look at your friends like that.
Our teacher says the colourmaker Diesbach tried to make a perfect red and created ultramarine. In a time when ultramarine paint was worth more than gold he added animal blood to his flask and out burst blue, worth more than gold! I wanted vermilion like Romeo, ruby as sunset, flash lipstick, scarlet forget-me-not kisses, I would give blood to my brush for her to blush at me in that shade I would take cobalt as a new sky, azure as cornflower, schoolgirl skirt navy hiding held hands or even yellow sunflower petals. Dutch painters whispering “she loves me… she loves me… she loves me…"
Our teacher didn’t tell us that the creation of prussian blue led to the isolation of cyanide. I can’t breathe without turning into poison, it’s apple seeds and seeping through junior-high gym floorboards when you watch your best friend dance with boys who will never be you!
I always liked friendship bracelets more than promise rings. My middle-school diaries are filled with girls, like a pick-pocket sketching the Hope Diamond. I’d be lining my coat with stolen glances. I don’t have a partner in crime to keep me warm.
I know the signs. The teacher’s assistant, a nice junior who comes to school with cherry eyes every time her lab partner gets a new boyfriend. Throw over your men! My history professor and her roommate of 15 years.
I say someone in another time will remember us.
I want to be five years old mixing all the colours until i get the drark brown of her Monet shoulder freckles, and you give a Valentine to everyone in class.
“Art Class”, by Rhiannon McGavin
(She’s getting choked up during the whole video so it was bit of a challenge to transcribe it. If you want to offer corrections or fill in the things I missed, please do.)