Painting a New Future
It took several years before Esme stopped looking over her shoulder whenever she walked down the street. She had become to love the tiny little town that had welcomed her and Edward so much. Charlie and Renee had become more like family than close friends, and Bella and Edward formed a close bond with each other. They celebrated birthdays, played in the park, went fishing with Charlie, and learned how to ride bikes together. Before you could blink an eye, it was time for them to start kindergarten. Esme and Renee walked them to the school, which was only a few blocks from home.
“Tony, be a good boy for Miss Stanley.” Esme said, as she tried to hold back the tears.
“I will, Momma.” He proclaimed, trying to be brave like Ironman.
Bella began to cry, and latched onto Renee’s legs. “But, what if I get lost or no one will play with me?” She cried.
Edward saw Bella crying, and walk over, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a child-sized handkerchief. Charlie always carried one, and Edward, one day, asked him why.
“Tony, I carry just in case someone needs it.”
“So, it is not for me to blow my boogers on it?”
“No, Tony, it is for someone who is sad, and needs to know that someone cares enough about them to give them a handkerchief to dry their tears.” Charlie explained.
Edward thought about what Charlie said; if someone as cool as Charlie said it was a good idea, then he needed to do it as well.
Running home, he told his mother that he wanted to carry a handkerchief like Charlie, and that, when he was all grown up, he was going to be a policeman, too.
Esme smiled, and said that was a good goal to have, but, deep inside, she chuckled that the son of the ruthless Don of the Cullen family wanted to be a cop. Carlisle would have a fit if he had heard that, because his grand plan was to groom Edward to take over the family, and to be as ruthless and deadly as he was. Thankfully, she had been able to escape with Edward.
Bella took the handkerchief, and wiped her eyes.
“Bella, I will with you all day.” Edward proclaimed. “I promise to not to let you get lost.”
“Yep.” Edward said, holding out his hand. Bella looked up at her Mom, and smiled, and then took his hand. They walked down the sidewalk toward the door, and, when they reached it, they turned and waved.
Once they were inside, Renee and Esme stood for a few moments, willing themselves not to cry. Each was feeling both happy and sad at the large milestone.
“Maria, come on, let’s go get a cup of coffee, and decide what we are going to do while they are in school.” Renee said, linking her arm around Esme’s.
“Your house or mine?” Esme asked.
“Why don’t we go over to Jack’s?”
Esme smiled, and nodded. She loved Jack’s coffee and pastries. Jack and his wife, Melinda, had moved from San Francisco about two years ago. They had wanted a quieter and slower pace than the big city. Jack opened Jack n’ Beans coffee shop, while Melinda opened an art studio, and offered art and pottery classes. They were expecting their first child in a few months, and were super happy about it.
Renee and Esme walked and the door, and were met by a smiling Jack.
“Renee, Maria, it is so good to see you. Did you get the Tony and Bella off to their first day of school?”
“Yes, we did, and I am proud to say we didn’t cry.” Renee said as she looked over to Esme. “Well, not much.”
“Come in, and have a seat, I just made a batch of fresh blueberry muffins, using blueberries that I picked this morning, and two cups of my finest brew.” Jack explained.
“Actually, Jack, can we get it to go? We would love to go over, and say hi to Melinda.” Renee said.
Jack quickly got Renee and Esme’s coffee ready, and also fixed a cup of peach blossom white tea for Melinda. She had been going through some morning sickness, and they had found that the white tea had helped. He placed three muffins in a bag, and took it back over to them. Esme reached into her purse for some cash to pay for it. But Jack held up his hand, and shook his head.
“This is on me today. Call it a first day of school gift.”
“Thank you.” Esme exclaimed.
After taking the bag and drink holder, they proceed across the street to Melinda’s shop. When they opened the door, they were welcomed by Melinda with a large smile.
“Hello, it is so good to see you again.” She greeted, wearing a smock that was covered in different colors of paint. Melinda was a striking beautiful woman with long red curly hair and mossy green eyes and a smile that could light up a room. “Oh, I see my darling man has been busy.”
“Yes, he has, and he sent you a cup of tea and a muffin.” Esme replied.
Melinda took them over to a small sitting area next to the window, where they sat down and enjoyed their refreshments. Once finished, Renee turned to Esme.
“Maria, I have a confession.” Renee said.
“What do you mean?”
“I signed us up to take some art classes with Melinda to get you out of the house while Tony is in school.” She confessed.
“You didn’t need to do that; I had planned on picking up around the house and doing some cleaning while he was in school.” Esme explained.
“For pete’s sakes, Maria, the damn mice that came from your house had to be hospitalized for starvation. I doubt there is one spec of dust on any surface in the entire house, and that includes those upper shelves on your bookcases.” Renee joked. “Please take the classes with me.”
Esme looked into Renee’s pitiful eyes. “Fine, but I doubt I will be any good at it.” Esme huffed.
“GREAT!” Renee screamed, clapping her hands in glee.
“Well, since that is settled, come over and let us begin our first project. I have two canvases ready.” Melinda stated.
Renee and Esme followed Melinda over to the easels. Melinda handed them both a smock for them to put on. After they had put on their bright yellow and blue smocks, they sat down on the stool in front of the easel holding the blank canvas. To the right was a tray with tubes of paints, a palette, and several different brushes. Melinda explained about the paint, and what each type of brush could be used for, and that just because it was mainly used for one type of brush stoke, didn’t mean that was the only thing it could do. At the end of the training section, she walked over, and unveiled a sculpture of a mother and child.
“I want you to paint what you feel when you look at the sculpture. Now don’t fret over your technique or colors; just paint what you feel.” Melinda explained.
Esme placed the paint on the palette, and picked up the first brush. Looking at the image, she was overcome with emotion at the lines of the sculpture and how the artist had captivated the emotion of motherly love. Esme took what Melinda said, and began letting each stroke come from deep inside. She was so immersed in her painting, she didn’t hear or see Melinda and Renee walk over to her.
“Oh my God, that is so beautiful.” Renee cried.
Esme laid her brush down, stood up, and backed up from the painting. When she looked at the canvas, she couldn’t believe she had been the one who painted it. The feelings she had gotten when she first looked at the sculpture were the same, or even greater, looking at the painting she had done.
“Maria, are you sure you never painted before?” Melinda asked, shocked by the painting before her. She had never seen anything so beautiful and full of emotion in her entire life.
“No.” Esme whispered as she continued to look at the painting. When she escaped from Carlisle she felt a little bit lighter. After years of happiness and freedom here in Forks she felt even more lighter, but, looking at this image, she finally felt free of the emotional pain that she had carried for all these years.