Yvette placed the planters in a row on the low windowsill. She’d created a stained-glass effect, taking inspiration from the island.
Seven terra-cotta planters; seven scenes: a palm tree swaying, with the ocean behind; a dolphin beaching the surface in a glistening, elegant arch; a shell-half-buried in the sand, with footprints leading up to it, and a glorious sunset behind; a couple standing on the beach, the woman’s long skirt and hair playing tag with the breeze; a child running alone, with a kite sailing against blue skies above; an osprey, wings sharply canted, diving upon a jumping fish; and the last, a tiny boat with a single woman at the oars, straining to press beachward against the powerful winds of a dangerous storm, piling in the sky and sending lightning toward the water’s surface.
As the tea brewed in her copper kettle, she took a wine bottle from the rack; and, after opening it, she poured it straight down the kitchen drain, then took another, pouring half of it out, too, before filling a glass.
She sipped as she looked at the planters from this new angle, admiring her work and the way they looked in the late-afternoon light which entered softly at the wide window. She drank enough wine to scent her breath before pouring most of what remained down the drain before pouring her tea.
Yvette thought of these deceptions as another art form, but one intended for a very different purpose. She chuckled at the irony; she spent nearly as much time pretending a carelessness about alcohol as one addicted might spend in pretending they weren’t.
Her phone signaled. Yvette settled the tea and the wineglass together on the table beside her wicker chaise lounge, then allowed herself the time to get comfortable before checking the message. As she read, she felt a warm glow spread through her, and she resisted the desire to get up and do a giddy dance, instead turning off the phone and slipping it beneath the pad of her seat, and pulled out her small sketch pad.
She finished the tea, leaving the wineglass where it was, and busied herself with rich organic soils and the herb seeds she’d picked up from the soft-spoken German man who ran the nursery. The rich, deep brown scent combined with the savory leek soup she had been simmering all afternoon.
She was wiping the soil from her hands when Xavier walked in. “Dinner ready?” was his half-grunted greeting, as he went to the table and dropped into a chair.
She ladled stew and paired it with crusty bread, brought the salad out, and poured him wine, setting it all before him. She poured another glass of wine, settling in the chaise with it.
Xavier glared at her from across the room – and then his eyes fell upon the row of cheery planters.
“I’ve forbidden you to paint!” he roared, and, leaping up, he ran across the room. He swept the planters from their place on the sill, with a stiff arm. They crashed to the tile floor, spraying soil and littering the floor with colorful shards.
Xavier whirled, and the door slammed behind him.
Yvette smiled, and, humming softly to herself, took up her pad, and began to sketch the wreckage.
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