Samuel closed the drapes, hoping that he wouldn't wake up his friend. He knew he shouldn't have come yet his friend needed him. He turned to look at Michael sleeping in his messy bed then sighed. He thought about the phone call he received at one in the morning and how frantic Michael sounded. Of course he would be there, he said as he put on his shoes then dashed out of his apartment and into the frigid December early morning. When he reached Michael's house twenty minutes later, he found his childhood friend wearing only pajama bottoms and no shoes as he stood in front of his house. Samuel walked up to his friend, only to stop as he noticed that Michael's chest was covered in bright green flecks of paint. Michael exhaled, allowing the steam to trail out of his mouth like a dragon, smiled then collapsed to the ground. Samuel carried him inside and took him to his bedroom and settled him in his bed. He watched his friend's paint splattered chest rise and fall for a time then found a chair nearby and sat down. He continued to watch Michael sleep then he too fell asleep. When he awoke, he felt the sun beaming on his neck and so got up to close the drapes. Samuel checked on his still sleeping friend then left his bedroom and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Once prepared, he took his mug and made his way to Michael's studio. When Samuel touched the door knob he gasped at how frigid cold it was. He let himself in, immediately noticing that he could see his breath as the bright lights revealed splatters of paint everywhere. He sipped on his tea and stared at the chaos, only to rest his eyes on a single canvas that stood on an easel in the middle of the room. A woman smiled at him from the canvas. He sipped on his tea then slowly walked towards it, noticing that her eyes were the brightest of green. Just like the green on Michael's chest. She smiled at him, a frozen smile. She was beautiful. He'd never seen her before. Was she a friend of Michael's, or perhaps someone from his imagination? Samuel felt her eyes lock on him. He wanted to look away yet felt compelled to stare at her. He reached out and touched her cheek. It was warm. Soft. he touched it again.
"She breathes," said a voice behind him. Samuel turned to find Michael leaning in the doorway. His hair stood up in all directions and his eyes were wide open. Like he knew something. A secret. Michael walked up to the painting then caressed her cheek. "She knows me," he said. "I paint to feel her again." He leaned forward and kissed the painting. Samuel moved back in confusion. Was his friend insane? What was this all about? Just then, he heard a woman sigh then watched as a slender burnt caramel coloured hand reached out from the canvas to touch his friend's cheek. The kiss continued. Samuel slowly backed away from them and quickly left the studio. He wanted to leave. All of this. He raised his mug to his lips, only to notice that his hands were covered in indigo and vermilion paint splatters. He heard another woman sigh and smelled mint.