Her nose was the hardest part. It had the slightest curve like the bending of branches in the breeze. When he held her close, he walked his fingertips along the ridge, hoping to commit its shape to memory. Regardless, he never seemed to get it right in his paintings. The portraits never did her justice.

He sat by the blank canvas in his home studio. Rain pounded the windows of the empty house. The hollow sound echoed within his broken chest. He thought of her face, that unique nose, and furiously slapped a red X on his canvas. She used to pose for him in the afternoon. No one posed for him now.

She died on a Tuesday. He was at her bedside, whispering, “You can’t leave me, Lily. How can I go on without my muse?”

Three months later, he still hadn’t found the answer to that question. He threw his paintbrush across the room and kicked the wobbly leg of his easel. The canvas with the X flopped to the floor. He stomped through the fabric, ignoring the sting of fresh tears in his eyes. He was too angry to let himself grieve.

Although the rain hadn’t stopped, he flung open the door and jogged to the center of his backyard. The frigid droplets hammered his shirt and trickled through his thinning hair. He looked up at the thick clouds as a knot formed in his throat. The man had never felt so lost.

He turned back towards the house when the shivers hit. On his way inside, he realized the dismal weather had washed out most of his garden. However, a single flower had survived. It was a lily. A smile formed.

With gusto, he rushed back to his studio. His brush danced enthusiastically across a fresh canvas. When the painting was done, he could breathe. He had painted a vibrant lily growing in a world of gray and muck. It was a pillar of light in the darkness, his darkness, and it was sent by her.

“You’ll always be my inspiration,” he murmured. “Always.”

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Shelly, that is a beautiful, bittersweet story. Kept me riveted all the way through to the end. Loved it.

Sander Mason
Sander Mason(@sander-mason)
1 year ago
Reply to  Carrie OLeary

Agree!

Last edited 1 year ago by Sander Mason
Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister(@alan-kemister)
1 year ago

Hello. I really enjoyed reading this story spurred on by how it pivoted so smoothly from him wallowing in his grief to realizing the flower with the same name as his departed beloved could provide the inspiration that starts him on the road to recovery. It’s a great story, you should be proud of it.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

Hi Shelly, you captured every emotion in this wonderful story from despair to inspiration. A beautiful way of expressing inspiration.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

So captivating. Turning despair to inspiration is lovely and inspiring.

Comments without a personalized avatar will not be published.
Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza(@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Hi Shelly, you described so well your character’s inner feeling. I can sense him struggling, looking for himself and for her. The smile forming on him after seeing the lily is wonderful. Thank you for your story.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

The story is pleasant, but it is marked by occasional bitterness.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
1 year ago

Such a bittersweet story! Yes, there is so much pain hidden behind the words, but being inspired by that feeling is truly amazing and something all of us should do.

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It takes a real talent to tell a story in so few words. What was…


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Endure and Sing

Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be the protagonist in your story,…


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Such a sweet tale - and with a good moral to the story. I thought…


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Endure and Sing

Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read to little kids, the moral…


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Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to hear your story read aloud…


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In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller Hans-Christian Andersen. Your sweet story…


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Endure and Sing

A really nice one with a wonderful story line. I can see why this was…


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Endure and Sing

A beautiful story! I was reminded of seeing Paul Potts and Susan Boyle on Britain's…


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Endure and Sing

Your story inspired me to keep going no matter how discouraging it gets. At times…


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Endure and Sing

Thank you so much for the feedback! I pray that the young readers will be…


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Endure and Sing

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Between Belonging and Dying

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