It was difficult living on the farm, being cutt-off from other people when there was a blinding snow storm for days. Marion felt the numbing loneliness deeply and her husband James only amplified her sense of isolation.
They were still a relatively young couple but James made her feel as if she were old, dull, and boring. He barely acknowledged Marion except when he wanted food. He hadn’t actually conversed with Marion for what felt like years.
She observed as James lived alone in his head, always ignoring her attempts to talk. As the harsh winds and snow isolated them in the farmhouse, James isolated Marion in their marriage.
When the blizzard ended, Marion had had enough. She peered at James one last time and left. She drove to the nearest city and caught a flight home.
I considered the colour red. How I’m equally attracted and repelled by it. How I pass by a red v-neck sweater in the right shade, but mix my acrylic colours, blend them until my instincts say stop; stop sign red. No wait . . . a bright cool startling red appears on my canvas. I think this is passion and passion is the boldest red. I think of how I not only crave to paint in vivid red, but in many vivid colours and textures. How I trace the feeling of layered paints with my fingers, and hunger for other colours with my eyes – blue, green, and purple. Though I adore all these colours, my favourite paintings are all in red.
As with my love for sexy heels, which I adore in red too. If red is passion, what more can I say about women and sensuality then red shoes. They’re expression and fierceness. Like Kelly Picklers song “Red High Heels” — “I’m about to show you just how missing me feels, in my red high heels . . .” Red for revenge, red for moving on, red for love. But I hate red for love, it’s memory is sickening. He looked good in that colour – almost the best.
Yet red is so many things more. It’s anger, hate, rage, hurt, demons dreaming — the beast inside who does not die. Red is sinful, delicious, and deadly. It’s sex and power; a primilness. It’s royalty and blood, red blood spilled for in the body it’s blue (hence bluebloods). I love how classic red is — nothing more classic then a cat eye and red Bridget Bardot lips. Nothing as classic as red Mustang.
I don’t wear red, the colour outshines me and doesn’t fit with such pale skin and blond hair. Please no red dress – I’d rather blend in and be a classic black or navy dress cut perfectly. But I seek out bits of red and cling to them, not wanting red to blind me. Only some sparkle and razzle dazzle to hold in my hand. Red nail polish is beautiful, with a bit of bling Red as some of the lights in Las Vegas and red fireworks; red stoplights.
Red is perplexing because it’s complex, not simple at all. Red is nationalism and red is internationalism. It’s a proud Canadian colour and I don’t mind wearing it on our Nation’s Birthday. Or cheering on our Canadian hockey teams in the Olympics and junior hockey.
As well, roses are so divine, so deadly pricking your finger. Red, passion and pain. Together swirled these colours of red, of love, and hate collide. There are many shades of grey, but even more shades of red. It’s more than a primary colour it calls as a siren, “Look see me.” No one hides in red. Red cars are often caught barely speeding and Red is a theme of many songs albums as in “Red” as T. swifts song and album and the Beatles album “Redone.” Red as “My love is like a red red rose.” Some choral song I cannot recall.
But I’m sitting here, music blaring trying to decide what to paint. I’ve that special shade of red and it’s mixing and melding with other colours. Shades and tones. I see, red on my canvas and it bleeds. Red blood, blood . . .life, the most prolific association. Red is blood. Blood is life. Red such as poppies, that we must always remember. Red for anger, red for hate, for war. Red to hurt, poor the droplets down a crystal glass. Red red wine. To drink away the blood and crippling thoughts. Red to forget. I like a Malbec with bite. A Zinfandel to make me chatty. A Merlot or Cav-Sav with some friends. Red sangria is delicious. Red strawberry margaritas because there’s real fire in tequila. Red is too many things, too symbolic, too self-contradictory. Red is life.
“Yeah, I guess. This is it.” Carter murmured. He was holding Melanie’s hands in his and couldn’t seem to let go of them.
“I can’t believe it,” she said.”We’ve traveled all over the world together since Amsterdam. Now I’m probably never going to see you again.” Tears slipped down Melanie’s soft white cheeks.
She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry.
“I’ll visit.” Carter promised.”I’m sure I’ll end up in Montreal sometime in the future.”
“But that’s just it Carter. You can’t promise that.” Melanie said wiping her cheeks. “You travel the world for your job. You take wild and fantastic pictures for National Geographic.”
“I’m an accountant trying to finish her CA. I want to start my own business and I want to stay in Montreal. I grew-up there and my parents and other family live there. I can’t imagine leaving them for longer than I already have, travelling the last two-years.”
“I could settle in Montreal someday . . .” Carter mused.
“Don’t say that.”
“Make promises you can’t keep.You grew up in Tuscany, in Italy. Your family maybe American but you live on this beautiful land where you make wine, as your ancestors did for generations.” Melanie said.
“Your home in Tuscany, it’s your anchor and it’s where you love to go when you’re off.” Melanie said squeezing Carter’s hands tighter.
“You’re not Canadian. It’s beautiful but I know for you, it’s not home.”
“Perhaps, you’re my new home?” Carter said gazing in Melanie’s sad green eyes.
“Don’t lie to my like that, Carter.” She chastised, “If you say something like that you have to mean it. If we were to maintain our relationship, you’ d have to see me more than every once in a while. Can you do that with your work and family?”
Carter was frustrated and unhappy. “No I can’t. I can’t make promises to you right now. There’s too much of the world I wan’t to see still. I can’t see myself settling down for years and if I did . . .No not in your beautiful Canada.” A tear escaped Carter’s milk-chocolate eyes; he was embarrassed.
Melanie was outright crying now.
Carter took her in his arms and held her. After a while her cries turned to sniffles. She turned her face up to him and he kissed her for what he knew would be the last time. He drew the kiss out, knowing he would need to remember it for a lifetime.
“You have to go soon. You have to get through customs before your flight leaves.” Melanie remarked he voice hoarse.
“I know,” Carter said depressed.”This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done Mel.If it’s meant to work out, maybe one day it will?”
Melanie smiled. “No more promises you can’t keep. I’ll miss you Carter, so much.”
She had such strength; Carter always admired Melanie’s strength of character.
He stared back at his beautiful Mel as she waved to him and he walked away. Her auburn hair was braided and her beautiful green eyes full of unshed tears.
Carter somehow knew, he’d never see Mel again. They might chat over Facebook or he might see her pictures on Instagram. But he doubted in person, they’d ever meet.
He’d never forget his last image of her, attempting to smile while hiding her sadness. Carter waved to Mel and tried to look forward to his next photo shoot in Copenhagen.
Before they had taken their first flight, Uncle Sam had asked Chad for the calligraphy written letter. They had stopped at a courier and he had the letter sent quickly to a friend.
After weeks travelling, the final leg of their journey ended in the mountains of Switzerland. They traveled by Gondola, before following a path to a sheltered stone doorway in the mountain. Chad had seen windows barely visible on the mountain side.
A man greeted Uncle Sam as they arrived at surprisingly luxurious hide-away.
“Sam, you scared me. I got your letter two-weeks ago.”
“Bastian, this is Chad. We were in New Haven to visit Yale, but the situation escalated quickly. We’re being tracked; the Navy is after us.”
“It has to do with Tom, doesn’t it?”
” It’s why I wrote you Bastian. You were in the Marine’s with Tom. You were there that awful night.” Sam said.
“There was a critical reason Tom had to tell me about it; he had to protect Chad and Mona. She was sent into hiding as you promised, Bastian?”
Chad had to say something: “Mona, My Mom, Mona?”
Bastian scrutinized Chad.”Your Mom is fine Chad. I’ve friends keeping her safe. You know, you look a lot like your Dad.”
“What exactly did my Dad do?” Chad demanded turning to his Uncle.”Back at the hotel in New Haven you promised to tell me everything.I deserve to know what happened.”
Uncle Sam opened his mouth, then the windows exploded. Men in black clothing and masks came in on ropes into the house.
Bastian tossed Chad a gun. “You know how to use this right?”
Chad nodded, running for cover behind the kitchen island. Bullets dinged off metal and splintered wood. He had to shoot one man who came around the island.
When Chad saw the body drop, blood dripping from a bullet hole in the man’s masked forehead, his stomach knotted.
He watched, rapt, as Uncle Sam and Bastian killed eleven other men.
1. “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. . .” Da da da da da da da da, “So kiss me and smile for me, tell me that you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go; cause I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again. . .” Lydia kept singing the same parts of the popular song she knew; she was mad at her husband Dan because she had wanted to fly to their destination; Lydia was unimpressed when Dan announced they’d be travelling hours and hours by train; well since Dan didn’t ask her if she agreed with travelling by train, she was going to sing what she knew of “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” until Dan’s ears hurt, her throat was soar, and Dan remembered the message.
2. Trains, planes, and automobiles, you chose the train; and I think it’s lovely we get to see the lush foil age of the countryside; trees every now and then with budding green leaves, deer and bison grazing in the wilderness; then, it began to pour and rain, the rain was loud as it hit the roof of the train car, it poured and dripped down the windows and sightseeing along the way to Vancouver became a washed out greyish-green window; I could follow the tracks of raindrops on the window and every time a drop stopped I sighed; this game was boring and I wanted to be in Vancouver already, flying was actually cheaper; I didn’t mind that there was no view, the view would come walking through the streets of the city, green everywhere and flowers and fruit blooming.
3. “When I’m gone, when I’m gone, you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone; you’re gonna miss my by my hair, you’re gonna miss me everywhere, oh you’re going to miss me when I’m gone . ..” Darren sang the Johnny Cash tune as he stepped onto the train; adventure awaited and he could take his bike with him; he was excited, and enjoying travelling across Europe; Darren was young, barely twenty-years-old, but seeing all he’d seen, he never regretted not for one moment, dropping everything and flying to Europe, where Darren rode the train everywhere he went; in every city and country he could explore and absorb into his youthful mind.