I remember the shades of grey I filled the spaces with. They were dull and lifeless to you, but to me, they gave life to the emptiness of the dead.
You’d often look over my shoulder and say, “You’re so patient.”
Every time you’d say that, the shades of grey that I used would seem as though they had colors. You never told me that I was artistic or creative. All you ever told me is that I’m patient. I clung onto that word tightly in my chest. You made me love what I did. Not because I wanted to be praised for my works, but because I wanted you to tell me that I’m patient. Over and over again.
I was patient when I fell in love with you. I didn’t want to force you and I didn’t want to seem too eager so I stood by your side and just remained as your friend.
I was patient when you told me that you loved me. I knew that you did. I just wanted you to tell it to me straight and I didn’t want to be the one who’d make you feel pressured of reciprocating my feelings immediately just because of a confession. I didn’t want to stop you from saying that you did. I wanted you to say everything you wanted to say before I could make my move.
I was patient when you kissed me. You leaned in first and I had a silent war in my head because I didn’t know if I should kiss you or not. You got tired of waiting and kissed me yourself. I carefully wrapped my arms around your waist as though you were the most delicate thing on earth. And I’ll never forget that because it was the best thing I ever did—to hold you safely while you loved me back.
We had a love that was so pure and I was patient enough to watch it unfold until I slowly witnessed it fold back into its original self where two people didn’t have romantic feelings for each other; only one had feelings for the other.
I was patient when you fell for someone else. I watched you look at him whenever he passed by the two of us. When he talked to you, you kept on smiling and laughing. I knew that look. It was what you used to give me. It was the look I lost. It was the look replaced with blank stares and forced smiles.
I was patient when you wanted to break up. I had already known before you could even say so. I knew the man whom you started to love. I knew how much you loved him. You loved him so much, that it was greater than the love that you ever had for me. You did love me but how you loved him made your love for me become pale.
I was patient when you left. You took away the heart of an artist who loved to watch the beauty unfold from the art he’s observing. I loved our love. It was the best art I could ever witness. It was the best art I could ever make. You were the greatest sketching material I ever had. It’s when I was about to fill the sketch with colors, that I lost my palette, brushes and canvas. Most of all, and the most unfortunate of all, I lost you. Even so, I forgive you. But I cannot forgive myself. Because it’s my fault. I should have cared even more.
Remember when you asked me, “Why do you love sketching still life?”?
Well, I’m sketching one right now. I’m sketching your picture. You’re not still life, but the picture frame containing you makes you one.
I love still life because it is still. It doesn’t move. It doesn’t leave. It doesn’t tell me that I’m patient because the patient one is that object. That is why I’m drawing your portrait.
I want you to be still with me. I want you to stay. Because I’m patient enough to watch you come and go, but I will never be patient enough to un-love you since I do not plan to.
Maybe that’s where our love will never change. In the world of still life.