“If you have even one solitary light guiding you, remember, you are not alone in the tunnel of darkness. But even if you have no candles to light your path, look skyward, and rebehold the stars. They will be your companions."
He remembered the words Laura had written in her little black book.
The girl with hair as dark as black coffee, who wore the same shirt every morning she opened the candy store at eight in the morning.
Laura, with her beautiful stories and her pretty, sad smile.
“Believe in yourself!" the sea-blue coloured shirt read. A powerful message worn by a not-so-powerful woman.
But now, he had not seen her in a week. He wondered where she was--he missed her, and although they hadn't talked much, he had guessed everything about her, because of the little black book she'd left on the counter by mistake--or had it been intentional? As far as he knew from the book, Laura was not the kind of person who'd leave her things lying around, unless, of course, she had wanted someone to see them. Maybe she had left it for someone else? Mr. Marlon, perhaps? The idea puzzled him. Mr. Marlon was reserved, unwilling to share his thoughts with even the closest of his acquaintances. Were Laura and Marlon friends of some sort? No, they couldn't be.
Could she have left it for a customer? He discarded the idea, it had too many variables.
She must have left it for him.
He shook his head, not wanting to distract himself from his painting of the end of a dark tunnel. He would have time to think about it later.
He looked around the room, feeling something was amiss, but maybe it was just because he'd been thinking of Laura.
She sat on the hard, wooden chair she had got from the old lady across the street. Stealing the painting had been easy--(what kind of artist keeps his studio unlocked when he's going to be outside for the whole day?)--the hard part was looking at it. She examined the masterpiece in her hands. Every stroke, every colour was perfect, just as she had imagined it. The snow, a grayish pearly white, the trees, bare, the sun, nonexistent within the painting, and her heart, broken.
No, he doesn't know about that.... Or does he? He could have found out from Mr. Marlon, for all she knew.
But then he never talked to the old man except if he wanted him to pose for a portrait. Even then, the exchanges had been minimal.
The only question now was if he'd been clever enough to take her diary off the counter that day.
She noticed he had signed his name--Robin--in the corner of the painting, in black.
Every story she had ever written was about him, every last one. He was not mentioned in the most obvious of ways--by his name--but she had made sure all of them included things he liked-- the sunset, snow, children ice skating, shafts of sunlight cutting through the gaps in the leaves in autumn. She had been daring enough to make two of her characters, Jason and Rita--very similar to herself and Robin--fall in love. That was the last story she'd written in the book.
She'd called it "Carnival".
To be continued....