A Colorless Rose

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Montbretia

What is the Montbretia? It is neither brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea, but sad mortality o’er-sways its power! How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea whose action is no stronger than a flower? Anyhow, the Montbretia is more than sounding as though it belongs as a character name in a Shakespearian work. The flower actually is quite beautiful. It looks like a strange little fellow, with red buds as flowers and large leaves that make up the majority of the actual flower’s overall size.

It has an interesting way of appearing to the eye. The stem which holds the flowers is frail and each flower is held on by a small whiteish thing that seems to look as though it will break off at any given moment, for the way it is, is not one that looks strong enough to hold up some flowers. It seems to be something that anyone with a knack for art and painting would adore greatly.

In the ceramics class I felt I would be good at, I discovered that my talent in art had not become any greater as I had grown older. This was not to defeat me at first, however. I sat down on a stool behind the wheel. My clay block had already been placed in the center of the metal circle with grooves of varying radii. My foot stepped down on the pedal that would start up this process of creating a vase. It seemed as though it would be a simple task with few issues to result from the simple motion.

Everything started off very smoothly. The wheel spun at a nice rate at the beginning. I assumed ds/dt (change in spins over change in time) would have begun at fifteen spins/second. (For people who prefer radians, it would be thirty pi/second.) So far, at the beginning, I had wonderful control over the task at hand and felt confident in my ability to make a vase that I could display in my house for all to see.

Suddenly, my hand went straight through the red mass of wet, gooey, muddy texture. Out of fury, my foot slammed down on the pedal and the clay went flying. My shirt was covered in red clay. My skill truly was the same as it had been when I first had attempted to throw something on a wheel.

There was Holly, sitting beside me, making a perfect vase on her first try. Her hands went up on the clay and smoothed it out effortlessly with each movement. Her short, stubby block of gray mass became a long, slender vase. I watched as she picked up a metal tool. I was waiting for her to use that tool to, without any hesitation or attention of the mind, make that vase even more wonderful. And that’s exactly what she did. Her right hand grasped the tool and her left hand seemed to be holding everything in place. As the quasi-circle edge of the tool slid down the clay, there became nothing obviously different about her artwork. Sure, she placed chunks of clay off to the side, but the vase still looked exactly the same as it spun around and around on the wheel. It was showing itself off.

And then she stopped the wheel. Suddenly, I had to stop mine as well, as I was now going to admit to myself that I was paying no attention to my work. So I went ahead and could not stop staring at her masterpiece. Maestro, I thought but did not dare to say to her. My vase was anything but a vase. Hers was a vase. Mine was a distraught block of clay separated into two mangled pieces.

I would love to have any sort of artistic talent. Ability in a medium of art would be acceptable to me as well. Of all the skills I could possibly have received, artistic ones were not there. I blame my genes. If I were to have had parents with artistic talent, then I could have at least have had a fighting chance at getting some talent as such. Then I could at least have a fighting chance at ceramics and vase making.

In the town where secrets were many and people all had keys to one another’s houses, they had an artist of their own. I was going to figure all about the artist out from Ricky one way or another. He was reluctant to tell me anything, but that was only two days ago that I had last asked him. By now, he must have cooled off quite a lot since then. He wouldn’t be one to hold a grudge. Would he?

I walked right up to his door, my sneakers covered in mud and so now was the “Welcome” mat outside his front door. I rang the doorbell. It was pretty much silent. He was going to tell me all I wanted to know the minute he answered the door. I had counted on it. He may have been persistent in avoiding the question, but I would be more persistent in getting him to answer me. Where is this kid?

It has been roughly three minutes since I last rang the doorbell. I wondered if it was getting bothersome to him. I rocked back and forth on my heels, somehow using the balance that years of ballet had given me for a real life application. I did not expect that to happen. I was impatient. I rang it again.

Minutes went by and there was still no answer from him. I banged on the door, since I had determined that the doorbell was useless to me for my task. He was not paying any attention to what it was trying to tell him. I gave up on banging on the door. I didn’t care that I may eventually break the door down, but I really did not want to wreck the poor guy’s house. I was out of ideas and then I got the wonderful idea of opening the door. Maybe that will do something good. It was just my luck and also to my pleasant surprise when I turned the knob and the door swung right open for me to enter through.

I climbed up the stairs and hoped that I could scare him. I made an effort to jump up and down on some stairs and cause a ruckus. He was not anywhere to be found, I discovered as I looked through all the doors in the house. It was made easier as there were but few doors to actually open up and look into.

There was a couch downstairs in the room adjacent to the front hallway. I went down to that and sat down on it. I figured that he was going to show up eventually. I did not expect him to show up so quickly, though. He came in seconds after I had found a comfortable position in which to sit myself. He came right on in, striding as though he owned the place. The nerve of the guy. But then I realized that it was his place and I was intruding into it. He was still a good for nothing male who was too cocky.

He turned and saw me there. “What are you doing here?” there was surprise, but confusion trumped any other emotion and undertone that he could have mustered up in his short question.

“I was looking for you. But you didn’t answer the door, which was open. You should consider locking the door when you leave. Your couch is actually comfortable. Just thought you’d like to know.”

“So you came right on in? Didn’t you consider waiting for someone? You can’t just break in.”

“I looked around and you were nowhere to be found. So I’m waiting here.”

“So, why are you here? There must be some grand reason you’re really here.”

“I want to know about Steven. You said you would tell me about him later. Remember?”

“I never said that I would.” He was annoyed, but I had come with a mission to complete.

“So, will you tell me or did I break into your house for nothing?” I was playing him. He knew it and did not retort with a snarky remark. “So, did you know him or is he just an urban myth around here?”

“I knew him. He was a close friend of mine. We took a lot of art classes together.”

“So you knew him before he became a well-known, talented artist of amazing skill.”

“No. He was always talented. He just managed to become better with some refinement he learned from all of the many classes. He could do anything and make it look easy and beautiful. It was annoying.”

“Are you sure you weren’t just jealous of his skills?” I was going out on a limb.

“I took the classes for the fun of them. I never wanted to become an artist. That was his dream.”

“Why won’t you tell me anything more about him?”

“It’s not something that you can explain in a day. You need to know the entire story first.”

“I don’t think that’s exactly how it works. I’m sure that you can tell me more about him without giving me the entire story from beginning to end about him. There must be something about this guy that doesn’t require an introduction of any sort.” I was wondering what Ricky was hiding from me.

“He’s not a simple guy. He bought that house and then Denise lived there when she moved into this town. She was also an aspiring artist. She learned everything about art from him. But even something like that requires a backstory. Surely you can understand that some people have more of a story than others. It’s just how some people are. It’s logical.” It was logical. He was right.

“Well, it’s getting late. I guess I should get going. Tell me more some other time?”

“You can stay, you know.” The offer was one I almost accepted instantaneously.

“I could. But then what would your neighbors think?” I actually wanted him to answer.

“They would think that you were here until late into the night. Really, stay.”

“There are things I have to do tomorrow. I’m sure that I’ll be back again tomorrow.”

“I guess I’ll have to wait until then. See you around, I guess.”

“See you around.” I left and slammed the door behind me. It felt great to do so. I had gotten basically no information, but I didn’t care. I got a promise to get more about the guy. That was good enough for me. I wanted to create some better questions and topics to ask Ricky about. I wanted to know about Steven, but I really wanted to know about Ricky. Ricky was more interesting to me right now. At least that’s what I was going to tell him if he asked why I want to know everything about him.

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