Short Stories

Writing a Story from a Paint Chip Sample

paintswatchThe gravel hits hard against my well-worn running shoes. I hear their chatter, see their grins. I see myself with a pasted-on smile. I stop suddenly, look down at my feet and wince.

Gone is the heavily sunbeam that greeted me on my pillow this morning. Instead dark clouds cover the country sky. It’s just me, the gravel road and glistening cornsilk.

My adrenaline level returns and I start to run again.

It’s like a continuous cycle of ups and downs, hurts and healings, a wound being opened and closed. The conflicting emotions and thoughts battling in my head keep me tired, yet restless.

I see a flash of lightning. It’s regal crown yellow—an unsettling contrast to the deep dark sky. It starts to rain and as much as I dislike the rain shower, I like it too. My sister Lily used to dance in the spring rain—Springtime rain Lily.

And then you left. You just left. I increase my stride and my head swims. I watched as your wheels turned eastward and I tried to keep the tears from falling. I didn’t know I wouldn’t see you at all this summer. I didn’t know you had left to never return.

I push myself faster, faster. Tears mixed with rainwater fall into my mouth, but I am familiar with their salty taste. My muscles feel fatigued, but I refuse to slow down.

I see yellow snapdragons in a pot, adorned with a fluffy lemon chiffon bow. Tears. Blotched faces. Bloodshot eyes. The same feelings of deep resentment mixed with sharp pain in the pit of my stomach hit me now. My legs have had enough and I collapse on the gravel. My exposed skin burns from the sharp rocks, nonetheless the epitome of my being makes me want to lie on the road and cry and cry and cry.

The rain doesn’t let up, and I hear the faint sound of thunder through my fog. I don’t know how long I was sprawled out on the road. The rain eventually slows to a drizzle, and rays of sunshine poke through the clouds. I rubbed my mascara-stained eyes and push myself to a seated position.

There, right in front of me, is a sunlit tulip. And next to that tulip is a lily.

I have a sudden urge to dance.

* * * * *

This week I’ve been prepping for church camps and sneakily collecting an outrageous number of paint chip samples (they’re free….right?). Since I had all these samples lying around, I decided why not try writing a story using all the names from one color strip?

Here are the color names from the strip I chose: regal crown yellow, yellow snapdragon, sunlit tulip, heavenly sunbeam, springtime rain lily, glistening cornsilk and fluffy lemon chiffon.

My intention in this short story is to put a contrasting dark spin on a happy color scheme with happy color names. Whether or not I succeeded, it’s a fun writing exercise!


One thought on “Writing a Story from a Paint Chip Sample

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