Paint Me a Picture
It was rare to see an artist around Pallet Town, or what was left of it.
Ash Ketchum knew this very well.
Perhaps that was what convinced him to visit the aged man of profession. Walking over rubbles of a collapsed building, the picture was seen quite distinctively.
Shades of green were splayed on to the canvas, tints of azure blending perfectly above it. Blooming marigolds swayed realistically below it, lightly contrasting with the similar golden rays of sunshine beaming down on to the peaceful scenario. What entranced the viewer the most were the houses. The artist had chosen a watery, navy blue-gray paint to perfectly capture the many slates upon the roofs, each speckled with silver. It was exactly as Ash envisioned it.
Futilely, he complimented, "That's a good picture."
Of course it had sounded foolish. 'Good' was a worthless adjective to describe such impeccable portrait of immeasurable talent. Nevertheless, the artist turned his head around, grinning ear to ear.
It was evident he wanted to reply with something more. It showed plainly through the wistfulness of his eyes, and the way his head was tilted in a thoughtful, curious matter. Ash observed the elder gently set down his dripping paintbrush by his side, before finally speaking his thought out loud.
"Y'know, I can paint for you," he shrugged nonchalantly. "I mean, for a twenty, I can paint whatever you want. Scenery, people...heck, even Pokemon."
The single word set Ash off in a daze, gripping the ends of his shirt to suppress the tumbling rage of emotions. Calm down; remember; forget. He breathed heavily once, prying into his tattered jean pockets in order to retrieve the money, almost subconsciously doing this action. The artist received it in both hands in gratitude, nodding in thanks.
"Alright, so what do you want me to draw?" He gingerly placed the current picture adjacent to his seat, in order to dry, replacing it with a new canvas. He seemed eager to accept any requests.
"Can you draw me a girl?" Ash stammered, clenching his fists out of embarrassment, wondering how the question had got out. The artist merely smiled, as if acknowledging the youth's crimson face.
"Describe her to me."
So Ash did, as best as he could. He described the elegance of her auburn hair, how it was always tied to the back; he described her delicate posture; he described the serenity of her brown eyes; he described the cooking outfit she usually wore, the grace of her caring face...until he realized.
"Can you also draw me? And Pikachu?" he added.
"...In your current state?"
And so, Ash recalled his old jeans usually folded up near the ends, the childish sneakers he wore, the blue vest with white linings, his favorite cap…
"I think that's it," he licked his lips to moisten them, after having finished describing every feature of his ten year old self.
The artist waved his paintbrush around, as if trying to gain inspiration.
"Where do you want the scenery to be?"
"Oh, you know," he made a gesture of impatience, "where you want to be. The setting, if you'd like."
Instantaneously, Ash pointed to the picture he had originally seen, still drying, to one house in particular.
"That one, with the slates and the porch. I want us to be sitting there."
Tears started welling up, blurring his vision slightly. He lowered his head.
"I-I want all of us to be happy..."
The artist nodded, and without further ado, began painting.
At first, it was like a dream. Under each stroke presented a magnificent shower of colors slowly forming into a figure. It was exactly how he had described it. In fact, it was even better than what he had described. Such vivacity provided a realistic appearance, every tincture of color plunging into a rich image of what was simply that: life. Ash was just...entranced. With tears dried away, he seated himself upon a spare chair, perhaps sitting there for a couple of hours, watching a blank piece of paper slowly come to life with simple strokes of marvelous dexterity.
Until it was done.
Just when the last shimmer of sunlight was about to fade away, the artist presented the stunned, awe-stricken being with the picture.
"How is it?" he inquired, tired from the effort, but happy at the satisfaction given.
"It's perfect," Ash replied hoarsely, carefully holding the canvas where it would not get ruined by any other physical contact.
Indeed it was, with a motherly figure holding the fingers of her son, entwined with each other, his pet playfully scampering around them both.
"Ah, don't mention it," the artist began packing up as soon as he realized the time, neatly organizing his paintbrushes in the wide slab of a case. "I reckon I'll do drawings now and then, maybe into Viridian, who knows." Holding the bundle, he grinned again out of pure modesty. "Take care, kid."
Ash numbly waved. He watched him step over the rubbles, weave through another pile of them, and wobble towards the woods of Pallet Town. The artist became a silhouette, a faint smidge of black...then no more. It would be the last time he would ever see him again.
Standing there for a second, he smiled briefly through his tears, mouthing his thanks in finality. As day entered the brink of night, the slates of the roof glimmered brilliantly one last time. But he didn't really have to worry, did he? The sun would come again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after. He had a picture.
And the slates would glitter again.
...paint me a picture...