• Casey Dunn

Portrait Writing: Sunflowers

A short story inspired by the painting Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Do you ever feel like the love of your life died 300 years ago? I do. Well, I’m not sure they’re around right now. They may die in 300 years. Or they might be dying right now. They have stage four cancer and they’re on their last breath looking back on their life and wondering why they never met me. Meanwhile, I’m sitting on this chair having a long ways to go not knowing that I never got to know them. Or I did, but it was in line to get a coffee and they were a little weird and I looked angry and it just wasn’t going to work out that day. It would have the day after, but of course, the day after I was feeling poor, so I didn’t get coffee. They did. They did everyday thinking that it would be that day that they would meet me. They were on a busier schedule as they knew they were dying. If all of that was true and not just made up in my head, then I’d wish I knew I was dying. At least then I wouldn’t have skipped on the coffee. I would have looked at my bank account and said fuck it. Am I going to regret the debt when I’m six feet under and dead? Not a fucking chance. I would have sprinted to the coffee shop. I would have stood in line happy to be alive for just one more day. I would have looked in your eyes and the chemicals would have exploded. We would have combined ourselves right there and then. Or maybe we would have gone back to your place. We’d both be dying so shame would have gone long ago. I think. I don’t really know of course. I’m still living. The specter of dying is hazy and unsubstantiated. I feel tired of sitting in this chair, but I’m not really sure what else to do. I go out, I talk to strangers, and most of the time I just don’t care. Or they don’t care. Neither of us care. Our lips move and our eyes look and our fingers feel. But they don’t care. I want to care. I want to care about you. I want to buy you coffee and sing you songs and argue about the things we both really care about. I want to care. I want to care about you. I want to know you. I want to pretend that the love of my life didn’t die 300 years ago and that I didn’t miss my shot. I want to believe that I’m on a train and you’re the destination. If even just for today. Because today is specifically unbearable. I would like for you to make it bearable. So, if you wouldn’t mind just walking through the door. Just walk through it. Please. If you wouldn’t mind. If you could have not died yet and if you could have been born around the same year as me and if everything else could just line up. If time could just give me this one. That would be appreciated. Really really appreciated. So, what do you say? You ready to knock on the door? Cause I’m ready to open it.