He smudged the paper with his hand. The paint slipped outside the penciled line. He grunted, but kept going. Smudge again, another splash of color, another grunt.
Outside the snow fell, deep, cold and unrelenting. The swish of the cars down the road became a quiet hum and soon there was nothing. But still, in his little loft area, he splashed, smudged and grunted.
Only when the light flickered off did he finally rise from his position. He capped off the open tubes, doused the brushes in water, and left them to rest on spotted paper towels. He wiped his forehead, hiked up his pants, and shuffled out of the room, all in the complete darkness.
He walked down the winding stairs slowly, feeling the aches and pains of sitting in one position for such a long time. He eased himself by stretching, first his calves, then his shoulders, his neck and his wrists. With each stair he shuffled down he went through the routine: calves, shoulders, neck and wrists. It was slow, but methodical.
At the bottom of the stairs a lone light was on. A pile of envelopes waited just inside the door. He stooped low and picked them up. There was a green envelope, mixed in the sea of white. It had a drawing on it: a lone child, with an easel and a paintbrush in his hand. He smiled. Then he exhaled.
With that rush of air, the world came back in. The sounds of clattering in the kitchen. Laughter from a child sitting cross legged in front of the television in the living room. The hiss of the gas stove, and the whoosh as it ignited.
He shook his head and marched into the living room. “What is this crap?” He mumbled.
“Awww, Grampa, it’s a drawing show! Art attack! So I can be like you when I grow up.” The little face beamed up at him. He noticed the spread of crayons, paper, pencils and erasers on the floor.
“So it is,” he mumbled. He crossed the threshold into the room and eased himself (with extra grunts) onto the floor. “Well, what are we drawing?” He asked the child expectantly.
“An alien!” The child’s eyes went big, the whisper secretive.
He let out a hearty laugh. “Alright then, let’s get to it.”
Together they sat, entranced, as the illustrator walked through the steps. “First you make a cylinder type shape here, that’ll be the space ship. Make sure you go ahead and shade that in, remember shading gives the illusion of depth…”
His ears hum. His hand handles the pencil. His eyes watch, but he’s somewhere else again. The words melt and meld into one another until silence reigns supreme once again. The clattering in the kitchen is unheard as the two sit there, pencils on the paper, drawing together.