"It's beautiful," he says, "gourgeous actually." He admires the lines, the colours, the texture that is so integrated in the picture it's almost impossible not to touch it.
"What did you name it?" he asks, he knows she always puts as much time and thought into the titles as she does in the pictures. She says a picture is nothing without the right title.
"Without title," she answers.
"So you haven't found the right title yet?"
She shakes her head, and he just can't understand.
When he comes home this is the first thing he tells Mila, that the title of Rachel's new picture is "Without title".
"What about your pictures?" Mila asks, but Carl still can't bring himself to tell her he hasn't painted anything in months. That his head empties the minute he touches a paintbrush, is just as empty as the canvases he can spend all day staring at.
"Whatever," Mila says, "just tell me when you want to have your next exhibition."
She strokes his hair, and walks into the next room.
Carl isn't sure when he turned into Mila's insignificant toy. He probably always was, and at first he didn't care. He got to live for free, with a beautiful woman. Now he wonders if other things might be more important. He keeps thinking about that texture without title, especially that one royal blue line, perfection in a brush stroke, and it feels as if he has something at the tip of his tongue, something big and important, that stays just outside the reach of his consciousness.
When she thinks about it, tries to track it back to the beginning, she thinks she's been in love with Carl almost as long as she's known him. Ever since that first year in Art School, when he was tall and awkward with even longer dreadlocks, and she was even more shy than she is now. It probably took a year before they were friends, even longer before they were best friends. When she was finally ready to tell him how much she loved him it was too late. He had met Mila, beautiful, blonde, rich, nasty Mila, who didn't even know the difference between water colours and acrylics.
He arrives earlier than usual the next morning, to the loft studio they have shared for two years. Since just before Mila. She hopes this is the day he's finally able to paint again, he deserves it so badly.
"I've been up all night," he says, and he really does look tired.
"With what?"she asks, hopefully, while searching for paint or charcoal on him, studying his nails which unfortunately look spotless.
"With Mila," he says, and even though she suspects she would rather not hear the rest she has to let him continue. They're best friends.
"I moved out," he says, "do you mind if I stay here until I find something else?"
That's when she notices the big backpack on the floor, and she can't stop smiling.
"Of course," she says.