Mid-week bonus story update! I want to wrap this one up by the end of this year, so today seems like a good day for a bonus update. If you're celebrating something right now, I hope your holidays are treating you well, and that you're safe and happy wherever you are. :)
The watercolor attempt just left my angry flowers looking creepily faded. I shaded in a small blonde girl in a blue dress between them, looking up at the suddenly enormous blossoms, and let the dress colors run at bit at the edges. Adding gnarled and smeared stems and stalks finished it so that now my playtime working with watercolors looked like Wonderland through the author’s acid-drenched glasses. It wasn’t awful once it had the appearance of ‘it’s supposed to look menacing and messy’, so I left it out to dry rather than scrapping the whole thing.
Having my first success with watercolors – as in I liked the result, not as in getting a decent grade in a class with them – definitely restored my view of today being a (so far) great day. Plus my little, star-struck spider was ogling the night sky in the most adorable way when I sat back from my easel and stretched. The pearl of dew I’d spent so much time on looked like I should wipe away some stray wetness that had gotten onto the artwork.
I powered up my good camera and got about a dozen high-definition photos of the series in the early afternoon light. Later, once it was dark out, I’d flick on the stand lighting and get all my studio shots for Amber. Over the years of selling my paintings, though, I’d learned it was always good to have photos on hand in multiple lightings. Some clients had a hard time imagining how a piece would look in the place they wanted it and similar lighting conditions helped with decision making.
I decided to check my phone after showering. Amber’s reply to the building wanting free lobby art was cc’d to me – something she didn’t normally do – and wasn’t even remotely scathing. Standing there in a towel, I read that instead of telling them which side of a bridge to jump off of, she was offering them a popular piece I had coming out of being rented for a display, with a side of including advertising flyers for the auction in a couple of weeks. Leave it to Amber to set up getting paid twice for one painting and then layer on free marketing in her favor. I’d also been cc’d in all the negotiations, but those stayed civil and without any entertainment value. At the end of the chain of emails, the auction was getting free advertising and I was getting unexpected income from a painting. Not a lot of unexpected income but, as I grabbed my keys and locked the door to head out to the diner, definitely an extra bonus point for today.
All my friends at Mick’s Diner were doing great. My timing for showing up was perfect and I picked up three shifts to cover someone’s vacation from Wednesday to Friday, and Cartlon, my favorite chef in the history of ever, was in the back so I got the tastiest version of lunch offered on the menu. As I was leaving, the cute delivery guy was coming in to pick up for someone so I got to chat with him again while he was waiting for the order. That conversation ended with a phone number for the cute delivery guy, who was named Anthony, burning a hole in my jacket pocket and a promise to text and set up for a dinner together rather than him just dropping it off.
Cartlon mocked up a dad-lecture for me about dating safety as I paid my bill. I think I strained an eye rolling them so hard. I was still single in my thirties for a reason, and it wasn’t because I was dumb about dating. Standards that didn’t drop just meant my perfect-for-me guy was harder to find, and I knew I was already happy single so anyone added into my life had to bring additional good. I wasn’t into playing the repetitive marrying games that my mom had thrived on.
I’d planned ahead when leaving my apartment and already had my sketchbook, charcoal, pencils and pastels in my bag. The weather was dry and a bit cloudy, so I sat outside after a bus ride and sketched trees and clouds in a park I hadn’t been to in a while. Tea at the museum café was accompanied with faceless people admiring displays or walking through the halls. A flower boldly growing from a crack between a sidewalk and a brick-fronted building across the side alley from the patio where I had dinner kept me pleasantly occupied until the street lights came on and let me know it was time to catch the bus home.
My eating-out budget for this month had been used up in twenty-four hours, but I was still smiling and adding strokes to a blank page on the ride back home, creating a specter-filled trolley ambling through a ghost town with charcoal. Unexpected potholes (I didn’t usually take this bus route) provided wavering depth I could smear into other shapes and give varying focal points.
Anthony was delivering for someone else in my building so I had company and conversation for the walk up to my floor. It turned out he was a contract engineer who did most of his work designing from home, and he did deliveries as a way to get out of the house. I swear, there must’ve been a tiny cartoon heart that popped up over my head. I was going to be making dinner plans with someone who understood working from home!
The last person I’d tried dating had been a nine-to-five advocate and believed if I wasn’t leaving my apartment for work then I wasn’t working. Obviously the dating hadn’t gotten past a third attempt at dinner with him, but the lesson learned was holding strong. I had achieved a place in my life where I only worked outside the home when I wanted to (and only for Mick’s), and I refused to be shamed for it. Every new date opened with the conversation about work. Nobody, myself included, needed to be harassed or degraded in their relationships about working hours or locations.
Anthony caught me looking at him with that little heart over my head and chuckled in the most adorable way. “I’m not rich, if that’s what you’re thinking,” he’d hazarded.
A weekly blog updating every Saturday with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and parts of my short stories and novellas for everyone to read for free!