I haven't posted any fiction on here before, but this sketch came to mind recently. I wrote it a few years ago as part of a series inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.
Highland Light, North Truro
Inspired by Edward Hopper's painting of the same name
Wanna hear about the light? A man calls out of the lighthouse window. You interested in lighthouses?
The painter looks up. Well…he says.
I know a lot about the light, the man shouts. I’ve been here fifteen years. Seen a lot of action – this has. He pats the window frame.
Sure, says the painter. He is looking back down at his canvas. I bet.
So you’re painting the lighthouse? The man leans out of the window. Paint many of ‘em? The man’s face is reddening as he bends over the sill.
Yes. The painter doesn’t look up.
Make any money out of it?
Excuse me? He looks up.
You make much? The man holds out his hand and rubs his fingers and thumb together.
The painter blinks. Some, he says.
My sister paints some. The man leans out a little too far and topples back again. Mind if I take a look?
In a moment the red-faced man is limping towards the painter, re-adjusting his shirt-sleeves so they’re firmly above his elbows.
Did you go to classes? yells the man. Like an evening class or something? He peers over the top of the canvas.
The painter opens his mouth and then closes it.
My sister also does ceramics. Do you do ceramics? He looks into the painters face. You know, pots?
The painter shakes his head.
It’s all with the hands, isn’t it? Painting, pottery…
The man puts his hands on his hips and looks over the painters head and into the ocean. Quiet, he says.
Yes, says the painter. He looks over his shoulder at the gentle waves. Fifteen years? No vacation?
Who needs it? I’d stay here forever if they’d let me. The man nods slowly and crosses his arms. You like to travel, huh? Like to see new places?
A little. I like the Cape. The painter looks down at his redundant brush and crosses his arms in front of him. Hmm, is it getting cold? he says.
I dunno, says the red-faced man. He looks around him.
The painter looks down at the box he keeps his painting things in and shuffles on his stool.
Feel the cold, huh? The man peers at the painter. You need a heavier jacket.
Yeah, maybe. Well, I’m done for today. I think I have enough.
Really? The man peers down at the canvas with his hands in his pockets. Sure, ok.
Well, I have to call my wife in half an hour from the drugstore. The painter shakes his sleeve and looks at his wristwatch.
Fred, says the man. He holds out his hand.
The painter shakes it and gets up to leave.