“Perfect. Really perfect.” Yamada cranes his neck over Takaki’s shoulder, the fringe of his pretentious silk scarf tickling Takaki’s back. “Maybe add a smidge more cobalt?” he suggests, gesturing at the green, blue, and white mixture of oil paints blended on the edge of Takaki’s palette.
Takaki nods, releasing the trapped air from his lungs as the hovering art instructor and his bulky scarf flutter over to assist another student, an unamused woman old enough to be Takaki’s grandmother. He wrinkles his nose in concentration as he squeezes out a dribble of paint from the stiff aluminum tube. It’s hard not to squirt too much out at once.
They’re painting outside today, on the beach. The breeze is too cold for most people to be out here on the shore, although a few old men in rubber boots smoking thick, hand rolled cigarettes have wandered by to stare at the huddle of easels halfway down the sand to the sea. Even though the beach isn’t crowded, Takaki still can’t shake the feeling he’s being watched from behind. Or maybe it’s overhead, the gulls circling and squawking, threatening to shit on his half finished painting.
He’s never been one for the ocean, though. He prefers the river, the high bridge suspended and rigid over the river, waiting for him to jump.
You're up, springmaid! (haha, I joined your team!)