They Looked Like Us

When I woke up in the morning, I was in my bed.  Once again, I'd fallen asleep on the fire escape.  Sam must have carried me inside again.  The kid was too sweet for his own good.

I got up to find a note resting on the ledge of my window, which was closed. 

I'll be gone most of the day in town...
Feel free to text me, though. 


He left his phone number at the bottom of the slip of paper, and I entered the number into my phone, which I found on my end table.

I went through my daily routines, pouring myself a bowl of cereal, getting in the shower and getting dressed, stretching, and putting in my contacts.  I was lounging around comfortable on the couch in a comfy pair of sweats and an Aeropostale T-shirt, watching the Saturday cartoons.  I used to do this with my dad, but then he got a new job and hadn't been around much.  Then the fights increased in frequency and severity.  I haven't seen him since the other night when my mom screamed at him to get out.

I wasn't really worried though.  For all I cared, my dad could go rot in Hell.  His stupid antics and affairs tore this family apart, and I resented him with the whole of my heart.

When noon stretched around, I went downstairs to the lobby to get our mail.  After that, I put on some shorts and decided to go jogging. 

It was beautiful outside in Manhattan.  The sun shined, and the air was still warm, even as fall lurked about, ready to pounce in a month's time.

After an hour, I returned to the apartment.  My mom had been home from lunch and left a note telling me there was pizza in the refrigerator.  The rest of the day passed without anything interesting happening, and I was tempted to go to bed early. 


Later in the evening, Sam tapped on my window.  I looked up from my easel--I'd been working on a new painting for lack of anything better to do.  I held up my finger, gesturing for him to give me a minute. 

I left to go clean off my hands so I wouldn't get paint on anything but my canvas.  When I came back, Sam was still waiting outside my window.  I opened it, and invited him inside.

"You paint?  You hadn't told me," he said. He was looking around my room, mystified.

"You never asked," I responded. 

"Can I see it?"  Sam walked around me to look at my artwork.  I looked over it with him, planning on destroying it.  I haven't painted in a while, and my brush strokes were sloppy.  It was a painting of a Manhattan apartment fire escape, like the one Sam and I sat on the last few nights.  There were two figures sitting side by side in the small space on the landing.  One had waist-length brown hair, and the other was a boy, a head taller than her, with sandy blond curly hair.  They weren't very detailed, but they looked like us.  They were watching the sun set.

"This is amazing,"  Sam said.  He looked mesmerized, lost in the painting.

"You really think so?  It's the first time I've tried painting in a few months. I thought my brush strokes were a little sloppy.  I was planning on tossing it out."  Sam looked at me, his mouth agape. 

"Are you kidding?  Why would you toss it out?  This is great."

"You can have it if you want. Just wait until the paint dries.  Would you like to see some of the others?"  He nodded, so I led him through some of the rooms where my paintings hung on the walls.

I also showed him the collection of old artwork hiding in the back of my closet.  Despite how low-class these apartments were, they had some awesome closet space, which is a rarity in Manhattan. 

"Nikki, these are all fantastic.  You could be famous if you wanted to be," he said.  "This one almost reminds me of this other guy's style... Was it van Gogh or Picasso?  I could never keep them straight."

"Neither," I answered.  "It's my own.  But my favorite painter is Rowena Meeks Abdy.  She was born in Vienna, and moved to San Francisco when she was three.  She was crippled at birth, but she over came that and proved to be a fantastic artist.  She loved Spanish architecture and fisheries.  Sadly, she died from alcoholism."  I explained.  "But Van Gogh and Picasso are excellent as well. Just because they're the most well known doesn't mean they're the best, though."

Sam nodded his approval, though I doubt he was paying me much attention.  He was busy admiring my spin on Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers".  My version was neon, and it looked pretty wicked.   When he finished looking at it, I switched it out with the painting of a pink water lily hanging above my bed.

The End

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