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The Fragments He Left Behind

The Fragments He Left Behind
Jeya Sandhar

Paint encased the canvases around me, each stroke bleeding into the next. Layers of a lonely, deep black drifted throughout each artwork, subtly linking them together.
The weekend of exhibitions was over. I’d just finished placing the paintings back into the studio, but I couldn’t avert my gaze from the beauty of one in particular. Its beauty that mirrors him.
I couldn’t stop the sad smile from breaking out, my hands from reaching towards my painting. I couldn’t stop the tears as the memories weaved in and out of the canvas before me, until returning to where they belonged… returning to me.
The painted eyes bore against my skin as I edged closer, stroking the edges of the canvas. Every detail was almost too intricate, accurately reflecting the hours poured into making sure each line was perfect. But there was one detail I was forced to overlook, forced to warp – his face. Around the deep-set, amber eyes, black seeped into the peach hues… distorting every other feature that I should’ve added… that I wanted to add.
My thoughts left the studio as I was pulled into a trance – but that painting never left my view. Each slight angle was permanently etched into my mind so that I would never forget it. Beneath my closed eyelids, almost-forgotten memories fluttered. It was as if I was reaching out, trying to catch a butterfly that was being lightly thrown round by the wind… and when I caught it?
I was gone. Whisked away by the curiosity of my own mind, whisked back into the past, the past when he still loved me.
I remembered how he would return from work – his engine softly whirring outside as if giving me the cue to run out and greet him. I will never forget the joy that flooded me when I could finally stop missing him… when I could hold him in my arms.
I remembered how he would stroke my hair – pale, refreshingly cold fingers gently dragging against each strand before they reached my temples. I will never forget how he made me feel calm, made me forget the troubles, and only focus on his touch.
I remembered the smell of Aventus that would fold over me like a warm embrace whenever he drew near – the perfume lingering against every item he touched. I will never forget the unwavering smile that would grow as his scent swished towards me whenever I fell asleep against his jacket.
But… I could never remember his face – those memories could never be completed. For years I’ve tried to remember even just the curvature of his jaw… but my struggle was futile; every feature lay just out of reach.
When my painting is gone and shipped off to the buyer, I’ll stop trying to remember his face. I’ll accept that these broken memories cannot be wholly fixed in my lifetime. But I won’t mind hanging on to the fragments that they have left behind.