She told me that I could come by anytime I wanted. To bask in the sunlight of the think glass-ed windows that lined the walls. To use the gallons of paint in the tall wooden cabinets that held themselves expressionless on the white cinder block. All I must do was put my brushes back into the color-stained, water-filled yogurt containers where I found them. With this simple task, every medium from clay to paint was at my disposal.
I snuck down to Studio E08 the same time window that I had crept down to the music room to play the piano years before, until they locked the piano. No one ever noticed me leaving nor did they notice as I slipped back into the crowded pathways of the building. On my way in, I left the door slightly ajar, a signal to the woman whom owned the studio that I was there.
In my short stature, I climbed the pomegranate counter-tops and pried open the motionless cabinets. The stubborn doors snapped open, revealing rows and rows of gallon paints. Water-based, oil-based, ceramic, The E08 Studio had it all, settled neatly in jars and plastic bottles. I selected my pick, setting them down quietly on the counter, before plucking some brushes from the yogurt cups, a small, medium, and large. I set them down at a table before reaching a handful of news papers and placing them beside my materials.
Under the sink, I reached for white glue, mixing the right ratio of water as one would whisk an egg. I had been working on a line of paper mache masks, a fun little project to take my mind off of the every-day. The one I had almost finished had come out beautifully, a black fox. The details, I had realized a few days before, were inaccurate, so I sought to redo them and start a new project.
My thoughts drifted in the mix of black and grey. Lost in golden eyes, I hummed, thinking about the people, the places, and the things. And suddenly my mind was filled with umber, an old math class, and bouncy curls. I smiled a bit to myself. Umber.
But the same color filled my peripheral and I stood suddenly. He stood, The Mathematician did, over my shoulder looking down at my work. His spiral strands a nest atop his head, his hunting shoes were silent against the floor. I cannot remember what he said, whether it was an approving comment or nothing at all. He tried to talk to me some more when I glanced at the time. Cursing loudly, I slammed my mediums back into their places, scrubbing my brushes and pallets with rigor under boiling and intense water. I could not see The Mathematician placing other things back in cabinets and as I turned to bolt out of The Studio, he was there with me, and we walked briskly together.