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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes
An audience made work difficult. Brendon’s attention wavered, his hands lost steadiness, his mental vision turning muddied rather than crisp and clear. The fact that Orion looked incredibly content to sweep inexpert strokes across the small, cheap canvas Brendon had given him and did not bother casting glances sideways didn’t seem to matter.
They painted under a hot summer breeze and clouds the size and breadth of fingernails. A crescent frowned at them as it lowered in the west and found its way onto Brendon’s painting in multiples, the moon mirrored throughout the sky as if taunting the sun. He added impossible reflections to the water, a broken-edged crisscross of sunlight and moonlight. The wharf under his feet morphed into a mazed set of gnarled roots, like mangroves inching into the bay.
None of it made sense, yet he was careful to keep a place where human feet could stand stably. Conscious to thwart reality by picking a navy—so close to Orion’s shirt—to add shade. He found himself rippling the water more than normal that it might not be mistaken for glass, and then banking them so the wind would not be typhoon-strong.
Through Orion kept his promise, his questions about paint rather than stranger things, Brendon could feel eyes looking over his shoulder, judging the safety of his art. Asking, silently, whether he might claim a victim from this creation.
It was midday and sweat soaked his shirt when Orion finally spoke. “You work through lunch?”
“I’m not really working.”
Orion laughed. He’d long since set his brush down—the only one Brendon had grudgingly allowed him—and taken to walking along the dilapidated wharf, up and down the piers, sunglasses a mainstay on his face. “Do you play through lunch?”
Brendon paused, releasing a breath. “Sometimes.” His shoulders unkinked as he stretched, blinking back sweat from his eyes.
“You have this aura about you when you work,” said Orion. He made no move to come around to Brendon’s side to view the painting. “Like your world narrows, or…maybe I have that backward. A new world expands, brought to life with every brushstroke.”
“Becoming a poet?” murmured Brendon. He took a long draught from his warm water, assuaging the grumbling in his stomach temporarily.
“Think I’d have a talent for it?”
Brendon shrugged and gestured toward his work. “Want to see?”
There came an odd moment then, languid, smelling of waterlogged wood. Orion tilted his head, eyes obscured by those dark sunglasses, lips held parted as if waiting. Waiting for the right words.
Brendon sagged. “You’re afraid.” And he didn’t feel mollified by the fact Orion did not argue.
Next Chapter Coming Feb 24th!