Everyone on Pine Street was pleased for Douglas, as they learned of his impending marriage to Louise. For all of them, Marilyn’s memory lived on, in vivid color: a bright magenta pulsing her spirit’s approval that Douglas should find new happiness.
They agreed Louise was lovely. They considered her part of the Pine Street family. They appreciated the light she brought for Douglas, who had been through so much.
Kassandra, whose artistic expression had been fostered by Marilyn’s encouragement, cleared the exterior wall of her studio at Marilyn’s old house. Douglas’s house now, and he’d been the one to tell Kassandra of Marilyn’s wish to have her use the garage as a studio. To welcome this new phase of Douglas’s life, Kassandra decided to paint a mural.
A sculptor at heart, Kassandra risked stretching her skills as a painter. She knew her colors well enough, she thought, and would create something vivid, letting colors do the work, so she would not have to venture into figurative painting.
She started with that magenta, the color that captured Marilyn’s devotion to the blood and joy of life itself. Kassandra sprayed an eight by twelve section of wall, not bothering to smooth out any of the spray patterns left by the nozzle. If a bit of the wall’s faded green paint peeked through, that was all right with her. Love, and life, always show a few cracks, after all.
She did not plan to imitate Marilyn’s mural motif, the giant squid. But Kassandra loved the idea of curves and swirls, tentacle-like, covering the wall. She layered curls of turquoise blue on the magenta base, and touched them with highlights of sunshine yellow. Shadows of charcoal gray added depth to the swirls, and grounded the exuberance of colors.
In the center of the wall, at a point halfway between the Douglas’s eye level and Louise’s, Kassandra hung a sculpture she’d made of welded steel: a life-like heart encircled with clasped hands. On the back, where no one would see it once placed on the wall, Kassandra etched:
May your love be a
Circle without end.
As she perched on an old wooden apple picking ladder leaned against the garage wall, installing the heart, a voice startled her.
Kassandra did not need to turn to know who it was. Sasha, her old friend from teenage summers at the lake, had come to Pine Street.