And just like magic, there he was, standing on the mountain near the bridge where we had kissed that day. I ran toward him, my heart so full at his return. My faith had been justified and love won again. But the closer I came, the further he drifted, until I was alone on the bridge once more. Though it was winter, my arms were full of flowers, and I threw them down to the river, one by one. The dark water grabbed them greedily and swirled the blooms away.
I woke up crying. When will I be rid of the ghost of Billy Joe?
Written for the Daily Echo and inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s song “Ode to Billie Joe.”
Streaks of gold slid over the sky, warming the night like melted butter. She tried to forgetthe strange happenings of yesterday, but they kept flashing through her mindlike a virus on the screen. After all these years of tormenting her, that vile man had decided to waltz off without even a wave goodbye. She breathed a sigh of relief as she absorbed the colorful healing beauty of daybreak’s aesthetics. The possibilities were endless.
“Let’s use the darker shades now to layer our sky,” Anita instructed. “We want to get a sense of thedeep lavender hues of the waning night, and then we’ll put the bright light of the golden sun last.”
She stood back to admire her painting in progress–her best one yet. She was really nailing this Glow series. But then she glanced over at Michael, who seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty. Poor guy. He didn’t seem to be focused. She walked over to help him.
“Hey, honey. That’s a really good start.” Anita swirled her own brush through his pink mixture. “Let’s just brighten up your sky a bit here and here, okay?”
He was so non-responsive. But that was the trouble with guys like Michael. You gave and you gave and they didn’t care at all. They acted like you should worship them or something. The hell with that!
“Now look, sweetie. You’ve got way too much chocolatebrown there for the tree. For heaven’s sake!” Anita began painting over Michael’s tree with conviction. “I’ll fix it. It’s always my job to fix things, isn’t it?”
She stepped back to view his canvas. Much better. “What do you think?” She nudged his shoulder and he toppled off the chair and onto the floor.
“Dammit!” Anita was annoyed. Now she’d have to take time away from painting to get Michael situated properly in the chair again, which wasn’t easy given how stiff he’d become already. She bent down to pull him up and noticed that he’d begun to smell.
Painting class was officially over. Anita picked up her finished canvas and her unused paints and put them in her truck. She doused the studio with gasoline and tossed a flaming rag through the window before driving away. As she headed for the freeway, she saw the glow of the burning building bathe the early morning sky.
She really didn’t cope well with rejection. Hopefully the next man wouldn’t be such a jerk.