The inkblot dried up into the paper and she watched the colours change.
Blue. Black. Red.
The crying was growing louder but she couldn’t help. She had to do this. She had no choice.
Grey. Green. Orange.
The colours blended and swirled, the paint’s fragrance filling the room. Tears streaming and her mind swimming, she continued. She must. For her.
Purple. Pink. Brown.
The crying was persistent. It hurt her, the crying. But she could do nothing. Not yet. Just another minute she would mutter. One more then it’s finished. Then they could survive another day, week, year. So she continued.
Dab, dab, dab on the canvas.
Cry, cry, cry screamed the child.
A masterpiece. She had painted a masterpiece. She would be done with this. This was her final break. He would love it. And then they could finally eat well.
She put down her paintbrush and rushed into the bedroom where the baby writhed in her cot, screaming from hunger.
Picking her up, she fed her the last remaining strength before she rocked them both to sleep, praying for the decay of life to disappear and to wake in a better tomorrow.