Gustav rolled up the canvas. It was too yellow. Too bright. It hurt his eyes. He looked around the room. There were so many. It didn’t seem possible to reduce all that colour to a few cardboard tubes. He didn’t think it could all be contained.
But an hour later contained they were. Surveying the room now it was impossible to tell it had been a studio. The dust cover, covered in drips had been lifted from the floor. The tissue paper, taped over the windows to filter the bright northern light had been torn down. There was a faint smell of turpentine.
He stacked the tubes in the back of his car and drove to the post office. He had written the address in block letters with a black sharpie. It looked angry against the beige cardboard. He wished he hadn’t written in capitals. Couldn’t be helped now.
The woman behind the counter looked at him a little askance.
“All these?” She asked.
“To the same address? You know it would be cheaper if you put them all into one box.”
He looked at the stack. Each painting was individually rolled and wrapped, a present for her to open. He imagined her face as she slit the masking tape with a knife and pulled each piece from its tube, unfurling it like a flag. No, they had to be opened one by one.
“Thanks, I’ll get individual postage,” he said.
She rung it up. He winced slightly at the amount but paid. He took the pile and dropped them in the ‘parcels to be collected’ bin.
He imagined her face one last time. She would open the night-time one last. She would recognise it instantly. The two of them. Paris. Their dog Mr John. She’d know exactly what he was saying. She’d smile. She’d see it and change her mind.
This story was inspired by a photo prompt, iamvickiroberts.com