Bouncing balls in every colour of the rainbow thumped down the mountain-steep street.
Each bounce silenced an eternity of bustle and noise as pedestrians gaped in awe.
A laughing brown child danced in a blue sky. She tipped more tumbling spheres from her pockets; bottomless receptacles of joy.
People in the street gathered up balls, cradling armfuls precious as gold. When they had all they could carry, they knelt turning their faces skyward. Smiles as wide and bright as the heavens rose to greet her sparkling eyes.
Charlotte realised she needed to exhale. How could a painting be so real, so beautiful, so literally breath-taking? She felt giddy, unsteady.
The small poorly furnished room had been sucked to the margins of the canvas, until there was nothing but the painting in all its vibrant pulsating magnificence, drawing her in, lifting her soul, and bringing her to the point of tears.
“What do you think of my work Ms Graham, do you like it?"
The voice treacled into her consciousness floating her out of the painting and back to the tiny apartment room. Charlotte turned to face the artist, a middle aged black man with milk for eyes.
“Like it?” she gave a small laugh “I... have never seen anything quite like it Mr. Amos, it leaves me speechless.”
If asked to describe Charlotte Graham people would say hard-bitten journalist, feisty independent woman, does not suffer fools, but ‘speechless’ wouldn’t normally be associated with the cynical reporter of the San Francisco Post.
She’d just made deputy editor, and was frankly disgruntled when her boss said she’d have to do this report herself. Apparently a few reporters were sick and this was one ‘they just couldn’t pass up’.
Charlotte thought she could quite happily ‘pass up’ an interview with a ‘blind’ painter in the undesirable Tenderloin area.
Nevertheless she’d gone and was still reeling from what she’d seen.
“Can I ask you a few questions now Mr...”
“Call me Ezekiel,” he said sitting down by the window. The morning sun angled in and seeped into his unblinking eyes.
“You have been blind from birth?”
“I see with my spirit, not with my eyes.”
She frowned at that. “The child in the painting is yours I believe?”
His smile outshone the sun. “Jasmine, she brings us much joy.”
“Is that why you depicted her as some kind of bountiful angel?”
“Is that what you saw?”
“Well...yes?” she felt he was searching her soul.
“Then I’m glad. You entered blind and will leave sighted.”
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
“It’s simple enough. Too many of us are born blind of spirit. We see important things as unimportant and vice-versa. Occasionally our spirit escapes like yours did today.”
“Is it free forever now?” Charlotte couldn’t believe what she’d just asked.
“That’s in your hands.”
Outside, Charlotte watched a feather dancing in the wind and was spellbound by its beauty. She looked around. Nothing seemed different though everywhere was changed.