Twenty years in an abusive relationship. Washes of indigo. The fade to yellow. How beautiful the colors of blood beneath skin. Art sustained. Hasty lines scratched on the backs of grocery receipts and construction paper hands. These lines are all I have now.
My mother died. We tried to write the eulogy. She kept a clean house, was all any of us could say. I don’t want that to be me. I want something of my own.
Retired. Widowed. Children away. What is time not spent in the care of others? I am left with only my own voice and it’s forgotten the response.
Nurse. Thirty years. Retired. I do not care to draw people. Must we draw people? I want to draw flowers. Can we draw flowers? I do not like bodies. I do not want to draw bodies. Orchids. Can I draw orchids? Georgia O’Keeffe. I like her. I do not like bodies.
I took art classes my entire life and I loved it and then… (shrugs) Then husband, kids, work.
(pauses to listen, considers her answer). Thirty years. I didn’t realize until you asked. It’s been thirty years.
It’s for my kids, ya know? I want some heirlooms for them. Want to give them something to remember me by. I want something of myself left behind.
I want something of myself left behind.
I, myself, want something left behind.
I want myself, something left behind.
I left myself behind.
Amanda Bales is the author of Pekolah Stories. Her work has also appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Cincinnati Review, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. She lives in central Illinois with her dog Axton and is a Lecturer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.@amanda_bales https://amandabales.wordpress.com