Sophie sat there with the tail of her brush dipped in black paint. The white canvas was being covered in darkness, as she stroked every time. Darkness of the canvas because of the black color, was like the darkness that had engulfed over her life. She loathed black, she detested darkness, for black and darkness resonated death and death for her now was the death of John; death of herself.
It was at a painting exhibition that they had met. Sophie, an Arts student had been there as part of her curriculum and was going through every painting carefully, scrutinizing each color keenly. She was a van Gogh person and loved the use of colors. Painting had been her way of escaping this world, surpassing the confusions of the mortals, thereby securing a pass into the other world. As she grew up in the country side, she was never short of inspiration. Every hill, every valley, every flower and every tree was her muse to paint. Sophie, with her eye concealed behind the spectacles like a ripple in the river, was dumbfounded by the beauty of the paintings. With a quick turn, she bumped into a man, carelessly clad in a pair of blue jean and checked shirt. In a quickie, the man said,
“Hello there, I’m John”.
“Excuse me! You just bump into me, make me drop everything down and then introduce yourself like a gentleman, without the mere mention of a sorry? Very impressive indeed!” , Sophie said furious at him.
“Well technically, since you were the one who turned around first…anyway I’m sorry, if it is going to fix anything”, John said with a quirky smile.
“Hey I don’t need you to do me a favor by apologizing. Goodbye!”, she turned around and started walking away.
John, an Art critic by profession was to prepare a report about the paintings put up in the exhibition. Sophie’s painting was up there too and he personally had found it interesting. At the counter he heard the name Sophie being called, and that was when he realized she was the same Sophie as the one whose painting was up there. The painting was of a girl looking out of the window, lost deeply in thought, watching the sunset. What caught his mind was that, there was a rainbow in the painting too, but no sign of rain. So at the name being heard, he ran behind Sophie and finally reached next to her, and caught her by the hand. With a sudden jerk, Sophie said,
“What the hell are you doing? Why are you following me?”
“I’m sorry, but I wanted to ask you something. Why is there a rainbow in your painting?”, John asked curious.
“And why should I be telling you that? A random guy like you who runs into a girl by mistake, messes everything up, and doesn’t even really apologize properly”, Sophie said coldly.
“Look I’m an Art critic. I have to prepare reports about paintings that catch my mind. And yours did.”
“Oh okay”, after giving it some thought she continued, “well the rainbow is just a sign of hope. The girl who watches the sunset only imagines that the rainbow is there. It is from the girl’s perspective that the painting has been done. And so yeah! Rainbow means hope!”, Sophie said with a smile on her face.
“Hmm, quite deep. Do you by any chance want to grab a coffee and something to bite maybe?”, John tried his chance there.
“No, I have got to go. I have classes to attend. What about tomorrow? Would it be fine?”
“Yep, sounds okay with me!!”
And there started the union of hearts. They met every day, shared every single thought in their minds, and became so close that even a moment of separation was terrifying to them.
During one night when they were out gazing at the stars, Sophie spoke her mind to him.
“You know what, I have never been so loved by someone. Yes of course I had my parents, or rather one parent, my mom; my dad passed away while I was a bit too young”, a tear dropped from her eyes.
“I love you Sophie”, John said, his eyes wet with tears.
“I love you too”, she kissed him and she continued. “My mom always told me, that whoever goes into the other world, the beyond, becomes a star, twinkling in the sky. I have always tried to find my dad in the sky.”
They were silent for a while.
“Sophie, I want you to draw me. Paint me. I want to see what I look like through your eyes. These beautiful pair of eyes, so beautiful that they draw me into you. Will you paint me?”, John asked his eyes fixed onto hers.
“Are you serious? Hahahaha! Yes why not? I will, like totally yes!”, Sophie replied excited.
“Okay then when should I pose as the model?”, John asked.
“I don’t need you to pose as a model. You are there in my heart, and that should be enough.”
“Okay then. I will wait for the painting.”
Days passed, months passed. One fine morning Sophie got a call from John’s friend, Alex.
“Hello Sophie, Alex here. John has been admitted in the chemo ward. He needs to undergo one as soon as possible”
“What? Chemo? I mean why? What has happened to him? He said he would be going to his mom’s place last week. I hadn’t heard from him since then”, Sophie said shocked.
“Did he not tell you? He was diagnosed with cancer last month. He is in his last stage. You knew it didn’t you?”, Alex blurted out.
Sophie dropped her phone. She felt like the world had collapsed right in front of her. She felt nauseated, couldn’t breathe. She got thinking. So that was why he was growing thin, too weak. She remembered the conversation they had had.
“Why is my model looking so weak nowadays? Aren’t you eating properly?”, Sophie asked John
“I am having this new assignment. It is kind of hectic. Squeezing everything out of me. So I’m just a bit too tired I guess.”
“But do eat well Johny, please.” Sophie was concerned
“Yes baby. I will.” John had said
So that was the reason why he was becoming so tired. But why didn’t he tell me? Sophie thought. She felt betrayed, lost for words she went to see him.
She waited for him with Alex outside the ward. He was moved into the intensive care. He was breathing his last. John called for Sophie.
“Hey Soph, my baby, come here”, he sounded too feeble.
“Why didn’t you tell me John? Do you really love me? Am I someone else for you? Why couldn’t you tell me Johny? Why?” , Sophie sobbed like a child.
“I did not want to break you, I wanted you to always be the girl who would look out of the window and paint a rainbow in her heart. I wanted you to keep your hopes high and not slash them down”, his words could hardly be heard.
“When I’m gone Soph, I will be there in the sky twinkling at you. I will be shining bright, looking right at you Sophie. I will be your hope, not as a rainbow but as a star, leading your way. I will be with you Sophie, always, never apart.”
With that he closed his eyes and went deep into an eternal slumber.
Sophie had finished the painting she had started off with black strokes. It was a girl standing out, looking at the night sky, gazing at that one bright star. She murmured, “Johny, and finally I have painted you. The way you look like through my eyes. The way you wanted me to look at you. You are my star, the star which leads my journey to eternity. “