Paint by Sammi Leigh Melville

You used to say that the difference between falling in love and loving was paint. If you fall into a giant tub of paint, you’re covered in it — everything you touch will get an imprint of that color. But love is also an action: it is more akin to painting someone’s skin. If you’ve fallen into the tub of paint, any time you reach out to that person and touch them, you’ll be loving them. It’s inevitable. But if you’re outside of the tub, it becomes more of a conscious decision. You have to reach back into the tub to paint.

That’s why I thought it would be better to fall in love. I wanted you to fall in love with me; I wanted it to be easier to love me. So I pushed you into the tub of paint, watched the thick, slippery mess slide over your skin, engulfing you. But once you were in the tub, you didn’t reach out to me. You were immersed in my love, but you had no desire to reach out and smear it on my skin. I submerged you again, with hope that the second time, something would click. You sunk even deeper this time, paint flooding through your open mouth as you cried out. And finally you lifted your hands, scratching at mine as I held you under, smearing the paint across my skin, and it felt so good to connect with you.

I have now crawled into the tub to join you. You don’t seem to mind. You are still; your body bobs in the wake of my love, your eyelids barely visible on the slick surface of your face with your eyes closed like that.

Here we are, together, in love.

Sammi Leigh Melville lives in Harrisburg, PA with her two cats, Charlie and Loren. She is the author of the young adult fantasy book, The Fields, writes film reviews for The Burg, and has written and directed several short films through her production company, Screaming Pictures. She attempts to work storytelling into every aspect of her life (except for the cats. Okay, maybe she tells stories to her cats). Find her on Twitter: @sammileighm