ELIZABETH’S MURAL by Sally Bigwood


Elizabeth waited until Edie and Deirdre left before she got to work. She sat on the side of the old bathtub and stared at the wall for some minutes before she walked up and felt the wall with a splayed right hand. Stefan had stripped off the faded wallpaper and the plaster was old, probably original, and somewhat rough to the touch. She walked to the other side of the room and struggled to open the aged sash-window. After a minute of heaving, it opened and cool, fresh air blew in. She turned and stood and stared at the blank wall and watched how sun hit it.

She carefully re-pinned her hair so it was away from her face and put on her knee-length apron. She set out tubes and pots of paints, an outsized T-square and a huge, wooden compass, the kind maths teachers use. Elizabeth bent down and jemmied open the 5-litre tin of white emulsion. What went through her mind was what had gone through her mind when she first had the idea: giant, geometric shapes, as big and bold as an American advertising board but not brazen or brash. Elizabeth was going to paint her mural.

Sally Bigwood – student from writing course with Nicholas Corder