XLV | Someone I Painted

I’ve decided
to keep a notebook

from now on—

to remember.

Today, I write:

Tammie asked me to
pole dance with her.

I said I’ll think about it

but I’ve already decided
I don’t want to.


How do you want to paint me?


Tammie asks,
hanging from the pole

by her legs.

Her shirt
rides up her chest

(almost coming off

so she holds it up
with her hands.

Her cheeks are flushed

from the blood
to her head.

I’m not talented

at painting
or anything

so really,

it doesn’t matter

if she sits still
or continues dancing—

I tell her

to stay in that position

until I’m done.

She giggles
like it’s the most exciting thing



A bit of red, orange, yellow
with a sea of white—

her skin colour.

A bit of black, yellow, green
with a sea of brown—

her hair colour.

I paint her
right side up,


face tainted pink,

limbs healthier
than they really are.

I’m only done with the outline

when she starts
to fidget.

Are you tired?
Is it painful?

shakes her head

As I paint
more of her features,

I remember more

about the Tammie
from my past.

A girl whose skin

was a brighter shade,

slightly rounder—less boney
than now.

Her eyes a darker grey,

almost black.

You danced
back then too,

I guess,

adding shadows to her arms.

You were in the
modern dance CCA.

But you stopped

going for practice.


Her smile

by a serious frown.


I’ve already painted

the smile
on her face.)

Tammie closes her eyes and listens

to me recall the past.

We were table partners
in sec three.

Her eyes open,

gaze scalding.


We barely talked
the first half of the year.

Because of you.


Tammie sounds

because she doesn’t smile while she says this.

Green paint drips

from the tip of the brush
and runs

down the canvas

like a tear.

Because I had
to go see a lot of doctors.

You started coming
with me


After you found out.

I put down the paintbrush

and dab
at the stain.

It leaves

a permanent imprint.


I realise suddenly
I painted the wrong clothes
for Tammie.

Not her asylum t-shirt and cargo shorts but

our green
school uniform.


Tammie reaches up,
grabs the pole with her hands

and lands on her feet.

She stumbles—
I’m too far away

to catch her.

You were my only friend,
I remember.

Her legs give way
and she falls

on her butt.

I wait for some scalding remarks,
something about the irony,

about my own helplessness,

but she


until her face turns blue.


I don’t know
which is worse.

Not remembering and feeling guilty


remembering and
          not understanding it.


Even when she can stand again,

doesn’t bother
to look at my painting of her.

She just
looks at me,

for me to remember more—

but there’s nothing else.


Get out.
I want to practice.

I really can’t concentrate

when you’re around.


So I drag
the easel and paints
into the passageway

beside the studio

and paint Tammie from memory this time,








In the notebook
I’ve decided to keep

from now on—

to remember.

I write:

Tammie and I met in sec three.

We became close friends
but something happened.

I hurt her.

I need to quickly remember




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