I am a victim of curiosity.
I was on the bus, waiting for it to depart, and not really paying attention to my surroundings. After a week of disinterested reading, I finally found something that held my attention. It was for that reason, as well as overall tiredness, that I didn’t notice her get on the bus and sit across from me.
I looked up and when I saw her I smiled. Fortunately for my sense of self worth, she smiled back. I am pretty sure that this is always a good sign. I noticed that she was holding a transparent bag containing what appeared to be an art canvas. She had the front facing her, so I could not see what, if anything, was on the front. She was holding it carelessly, letting it dangle around her feet. If it had been a blank canvas, I suspect it would have come in a store branded bag. See what I mean about curiosity? You’re wondering what, if anything, was on the other side too.
The bus was full of loud talkers, which is rarely the case when I am on my way home. That isn’t true. If I am going home late, bar closing late, there tends to be a rowdier crowd, but before eight I expect everyone to be somewhat work weary and contemplative. Perhaps I am just projecting myself onto others…
As I said, I am a victim of curiosity. I kept looking over at the bag, hoping its graceful dangle would rotate its front in my direction. Alas, that didn’t seem to be happening. The bus violently leaped over the uneven road surface, but the face of the canvas stayed away. The bus veered around construction sites, but still the painting went unrevealed. No amount of jostling, or even inconsiderate commuters who bumped into the bag while attempting to exit the bus aided in my quest.
Obviously, it was up to me.
When there were fewer passengers on the bus, I made eye contact and said, “Excuse me. I am sorry to bother you, but I was wondering what your paining is of?” Before you start complaining about my leaving the dangling preposition, and wondering how I can call myself an English teacher, just let it go. Let it go!
She gracefully showed me the picture. She had painted some birch trees that were shielding a clearing (I want to write glade, but I am unsure if this is the right word). I am not going to lie and tell you it was a masterpiece and that I discovered the next artist of the century. I can say, however, that it was pretty good. The composition was good and the details were fine. I always think of birch trees as having a texture, and that could have been better.
We did manage to have a short conversation before she had to leave the bus. She told me that she hadn’t painted in a while and she had gone to a “painting event”. She explained that she had found it incredibly relaxing. It was at that moment that I realized that she was discovering a lost love. Her posture changed and her face lit up. I had no doubt that painting would become a bigger part of her life.
I should have asked her about the painting sooner.