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Blue Abstraction -- Flash Fiction


In New York where my parents met and wooed and wed, the artists slashed convention with strokes of bright greens and blues invaded by a saffron cancer, or they delved into half-worlds of brown, black and white, tubes of paint squeezed directly onto the canvas. Everything was art. But my parents had left New York, and my mother sat at the window of a small apratment in Coconut Grove watching the cockroachs, wondering if life was worth the effort.

One muggy night, my father, a piano teacher, came home, forehead gased and bloody. His pupil had thrown a metronome at him, he said. Mother knew the score. She bandaged him and then poured him a glass of dark German beer. It was good, cold, frothy. They put Mahler on the phonograph and sat on the living room floor, underneath the ceiling fan’s breeze. He told her stories of his boyhood, and her laughter rose like steam into the air, then slowly turned to water as the night grew cool.

Sometime in the early morning, she asked, “Shall we go to bed?” They had not kissed in months. He followed her to the room at the back of the apartment, fell with her into the bed and brushed his hand against her skin, swirling his fingers over her fine dark hair. While de Kooning worked late, creating a bright colossus of colors, letting ropes of oil paint drip from stiff brushes, one of my father’s sperm permeated a seed, leaving the rest to drip along the white canvas of her thigh.

Ah, but his pupil returned, and he left for good a few weeks later.


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