"A work of art is finished, from the point of view of the artist, when feeling and perception have resulted in a spiritual synthesis."
- Hans Hofmann
When I draw her, Ino is hideous.
For this I loathe her.
At this moment, she is sitting at the counter of the tiny, besotted flower shop. A small, twirling fan rests on the flat surface beside her, sending wind sailing in a friendly way through her hair, which is the color of early morning sun. It is summer, and she is in her usual purple skirt and top. She has abandoned her fishnets, leaving more of her skin exposed—and I despise this silently. The way she is effortless with her body.
Her wiry legs cross and uncross themselves several times in the sticky heat. Her foot twitches, and her sandal threatens to flop to the ground. It teeters on the edge of her tiny toes, but clings on, barely. I watch her ankle twist and rotate. She appears very bored.
Eyes like a pool made of sky find me. She watches me just as intently as I watch her. I am standing by the doorway, my sketchbook perched gently in my hands. I take care not to drop it as I am stunned once again by the sheer intensity in the way she stares at me.
I try not to show this. I always try not to show emotion; especially at the moments when I am so full of it that an eruption of those ghastly feelings I feel for Ino is impending.
A small smile curves her delicate lips. They are the color of the flower I've been trying to sketch for the past ten minutes. But I have been distracted from my drawing for a while now.
I flip a new page and stare at its blank surface grimly. Ino continues to look at me, and now I glance back up at her, filling my eyes with her appearance. Her cascading hair, her eyes, her curves, and her posture. She rests her chin in one hand as her arm leans against the table, still smirking at me.
My mind feels like it's about to explode. I hate it when Ino smirks at me.
I imagine that if I drew it, it would be such an ugly smirk. On such an ugly girl.
The wind from the fan brushes her face again and again, in a steady rhythm. I am swept up in her presence.
It is true that I have not been this intoxicated since the first day I met her. It progressed gently and slowly, and sometimes in waves. I called her beautiful at first, but I was going for opposites.
If she was beautiful then, now she is truly revolting, I think, my mind still on opposites; I look down at the lonely blank page, chuckling unrealistically to myself.
I glance back up at her.
Our relationship has been one of opposites as well as our past together. I am sarcastic and she is affectionate. I am levelheaded and she is easily excited. I am the artist. And she is the artist's dream.
Everything about her calls out to me.
Draw me, it whispers. Sketch me. Put me on paper and make me yours. The words stand right next to me, as though they are my equals. Ino sees me with her eyes as clear and still as frozen water on this burning day.
I look down at my blank page, and touch it with the tip of my pencil. Slowly and carefully, I draw the curve of her cheek, attaching it to the rest of her face and neck. I sketch eyes. A nose. Her ears. Her hair.
At first it looks good, but as I glance up to my reference, I see that my depiction is misshapen and crooked.
I frown. Ino's smile grows wider. It would be the most revolting smile in the world if I tried to draw it right now, even though it's the loveliest thing I have ever seen in real life. I am disgusted by Ino again, for having that magnificent, unattainable smile.
I return to my work, erasing the ugly pieces and starting afresh. I roughly outline her body as it arches over the countertop, the sharp angle of her elbow hitting the wooden surface. Her hair flows down her back in the ponytail, and an earring gleams on her ear, like a single drop of water in a pool of sunshine.
Peeking up again, I find (to my displeasure) that Ino has abandoned her seated position. She walks through the heat towards me now, her hips swaying and her skin shining. Her eyes are soft—so soft you could drown in them. I only wish I could.
She stops when she is right next to me.
"Is that me?" she asks, glimpsing my work. I hate her voice as much as I hate the rest of her. It sounds like honey, and is as smooth as a skipping stone.
My mind flashes back to when I first met her again. Back then, I thought I would hate her. At that first moment she looked like the type of girl I would hate.
Now I am sure that I hate her.
Even as she leans towards me in this moment, my sketchbook still in between us—even as she presses her strawberry lips to mine—I am sure that I hate her.
The air is tolerant and understanding as I silently struggle between the revulsion I feel towards the only woman I have never been able to illustrate, and the invigorating pull that locks me to her.
Because Ino is always the one challenge I can't overcome. The one thing, out of everything, I cannot take into my mind and put onto my paper: Nothing I pen ever does her figure justice. Nothing holds her intoxicating essence, her tantalizing beauty.
Nothing I draw will ever portray Yamanaka Ino properly.
I know this. And I can't stand her for it.
The tender, humid atmosphere watches tolerantly as I kiss Ino back, touching her neck lightly with one hand, the other on her bare waist. There are tiny beads of sweat on her skin. It feels like I am part of her now, more a part of her than I have ever been to anyone else in my life.
Ino smiles into my lips. I wonder if she feels the same way I do. I wonder for a moment as we stand in this thickness—I wonder if I am ugly to her as well. But I can only contemplate this very briefly—I am desperate to feel her smile again.
As desperately and tormentingly real as that smile is, I want it once more against my own.
She has a smile like fog. Beauty like the wind. A spirit that is impossible to capture. And for this I will repeatedly grasp after her and everything she is, though I know what I want s not confineable within my walls.
My sketchbook falls to the ground at our feet. It watches us patiently as we lose all sense of ourselves in each other.
Yeah, it didn't really make much sense to me either.
I've never written Sai before. Nor have I written in present tense. Let me know if I should stick to stuff I know, yeah? (: