Echoes of Love Lost in the Arms of the Desert
Maya was a young artist living in the big city of Los Angeles. She had recently moved to the big city from her small town in Connecticut to pursue the career of painting that she had wanted since she was a little girl. She loved to paint landscapes and people, mainly landscapes. She loved anything to do with nature and loved romanticizing nature and everything in it. From flowers to giant trees to the little animals that called them home, she loved every part of it. The one problem was that she lived in a small apartment in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. There was no nature, no giant trees, no flowers, only loud pigeons who would wake her up every morning with their squawking. So she had a pretty hard time finding landscapes to paint that weren’t the giant Bank of America building across from her apartment.
“I'm sorry,” Maya said. She had accidentally run into someone on the sidewalk on her way to her showcase art gallery.
“It's okay,” the guy said, and he quickly ran off.
Maya stared at him as he ran off. He was very handsome. He had nice curls, a tall frame, and a very handsome face. Maya smiled as she followed in the direction of the mysterious guy.
Meeting at the art gallery.
Maya walked into the small building and smiled. There were a lot of people at her art gallery today. People of all ages look at her paintings, bonding over the colors and the blending. It made her smile. She loved it when her painting brought people together.
She went up to her painting titled “Dance of Time and Tranquility.” It was a painting of the desert. Her sister had gone to the Sahara Desert on a school trip a couple of years ago and sent her this picture, so she painted it. It wasn't her best work, but she thought it looked good.
“I love the artist. This is one of my favorite pieces by her.” A voice spoke from behind Maya.
She turned around and smiled. It was the handsome stranger she had run into earlier.
“Thank you; I am the artist, Maya. And sorry for running into you earlier,” Maya said, and he turned dark red.
“I am sorry too. I love your work, especially this one. It has always been my dream to go visit the desert or just anywhere outside of Los Angeles, but I was never able to. Seeing your paintings makes me feel like I'm basically there,” he said with a smile, and Maya gushed.
“My name is Adrian, by the way,” he said, and Maya nodded.
“Maya.” and the two of them shook hands and laughed with each other.
“I really like how you display nature so well with your landscapes. It's hard to see that kind of stuff nowadays,” he said, and Maya nodded.
“That's why I paint; I want to bring nature to life with colors and blending,” she said.
The two of them continued to talk about their shared love for the beauty of nature and the world all around them.
The unfolding romance
Maya smiled as she saw Adrian.
“This place is really awesome.” The two of them had been spending more time together in the city and trying to find places where there was a lot of nature and not just a sad tree on the sidewalk.
“It really is; I love being here,” Adrian said as he sat down on a rock with Maya.
They were under an abandoned bridge, looking at all of the vines, grass, and trees all around. It was truly beautiful.
“I think you should paint this,” Adrian said.
“That’s a great idea,” Maya said, and she got out her phone.
She moved around, trying to look for the right spot to take a picture. Adrian sat next to her, laughing as she struggled.
“Get in the photo; I will paint you too,” Maya said, not giving Adrian a choice as she forced him to stand up and go into the frame of the picture.
Maya snapped the picture.
“Wait, I was even ready,” he said and ran towards her, knocking her down in the process.
They laughed together, just enjoying each other's company.
The laughter died down, and Maya showed him the picture.
“See? It's not bad,” she said
“Not bad-.” Adrian started coughing.
Maya quickly turned around. “Are you okay?” she asked him, and he nodded and tried to get himself to stop coughing.
“Yeah, just something in my throat,” he said, and the two of them went back to looking at the photo. Something was wrong; Maya knew that.
“This is our first actual date,” Adrian said as the two of them sat down together at a small cafe near Maya's art gallery.
The two of them had been hanging out nonstop for the past 3 months, and Maya felt herself falling for him but didn't know if he felt the same way.
“You look really beautiful,” Adrian said, and Maya smiled at him.
“You do too,” she said awkwardly, and the two of them started laughing.
“Sorry, I haven’t been in a relationship since my senior year of high school, when my girlfriend broke up with me. We were together for 5 years, so I'm very rusty with my flirting,” Adrian said with a laugh
“Same, but make it 8 years with my boyfriend. He treated me so badly; I don't know why I stayed,” Maya said, and she let out a cringe, remembering all the things he said and did to her.
“I could treat you right. Eh, but life's not that easy, is it?” He said this as he was drinking his tea.
“I wouldn't be opposed to that,” Maya said.
Maya was deathly scared of heights.
“Why am I doing this with you?” she asked. They were walking on a railroad bridge.
Adrian reached out his hand. “Because you love me,” he said. She did, she thought to herself, and she grabbed his hand, and they walked.
“Stay still so I can paint you,” Maya said.
Adrian kept moving in a chair in her apartment.
As they danced under the stars on the roof of their shared apartment, they shared a kiss and continued to dance and laugh, enjoying each other's company.
The blank of secrets
Maya typed on her computer and watched as Adrian walked towards her.
“Are you here to talk to me about that crazy medical bill we just got?” she said, trying to make a light out of the situation, but it was hard.
The two of them had been together for a little over two years, and she could tell that Adrian was physically slow some days, and some days he couldn't even get up.
“You know that lung thing I had a while ago?” Adrian asked.
“Yes? I went to the hospital for 2 weeks straight to visit you,” she said, and Adrian nodded.
“It is incurable, and today they found out it spread to my liver, and in a couple weeks, it is going to do the same to my heart. They tried to stop it, but they couldn't,” Adrian said, and Maya tried to stay strong.
She tried to stay strong for herself, for Adrian, and for the life the two of them had built together. But she couldn't. She loved Adrian too much to let him go.
“It's okay; we might as well make the most of it and do all the things you want to do,” she said through tears. The two of them shared a hug.
“Why is your computer on? It's 3 in the morning,” Adrian said in bed, trying to open his sleepy eyes.
“I’m booking a flight to that desert you always wanted to go to,” she said.
“We do not have the money for that,” Adrian laughed, sitting up and cuddling next to her.
“My mom gave me some money, so I might as well spend it on you before your medical bills ruin your dreams,” she said, and Adrian felt himself falling in love again.
Escape to the oasis.
She smiled at Adrian. His face lit up as they walked in the vast desert. They had sold their apparent and everything, including most of Maya’s paintings. They were going to spend Adrian's final weeks here, staying at a weird motel in the middle of the dry desert.
“Look, there's a plant,” Adrian said as they got situated in their motel. It was awful and completely rundown, but at the same time, it was great.
It was a shelter from the world, from medical bills, and from Adrian's condition. It was their oasis, with one plant and a bathroom sink that barely worked.
This absolutely rancid motel room was a symbol of their love and their strength. It was their refuge from the impending storm that was Adrian’s soon-to-be death.
Racing against time.
Maya didn’t want to believe that the love of her life, someone she had given everything up for, was going to leave her soon, and not by choice. Their time together had been robbed, and there was nothing the two of them could do about it.
Maya continued to smile through it all. She knew what she was going to do.
“You’ve painted me three times this week already; do you really need another painting?” Adrian asked. He hated posing for these because he does it so much.
“I need as many as I can get, baby,” she said with a small smile. Adrian was having a hard time sleeping because he couldn’t breathe. And he was getting so much weaker. It hurt Maya; it hurt her so much.
Their happy oasis was slowly fading into the terrible motel it had always been. The motel reeked of mold, rotten wood, and thoughts of death.
All their shared moments were flashing in front of Maya’s eyes, and she couldn't help but break down. Adrian got up from his dreaded spot as her muse and hugged and kissed her.
“I love you,” he said.
The desert embraces
“I can't feel anything, baby,” Adrian said. Maya sighed.
“Let's go watch the sunset then,” she said, and she grabbed her paintings of him and helped him to his feet.
The two of them walked as far as Adrian could go. The sun was going down.
“I can't,” he said, and the two of them sat down. Maya’s eyes were full of tears as she put the paintings down.
“The sunset does look really beautiful,” Maya said.
“Not as beautiful as you,” Adrian said, and Maya couldn't help but laugh.
“You are the best thing this life could give me,” Adrian said, kissing her.
“You too, honey,” she said, and he gave her a weak smile.
“I can't breathe anymore.” He said he was gasping for air, gasping for life, gasping for one last chance with his lover.
“It's okay,” he said. Maya cried, and she smiled as he fell back, surrounded by the fading sunlight and the endless dunes.
That was the first thing he said to her when they first met.
A grain of sand.
I was crying uncontrollably now. I couldn't help it; I watched my lover take his final breath. I had every right to cry.
I was alone, and I was losing light. The light of the sun and the light of my soul
It was dead silent. Only my heartbeat could I hear. I couldn't hear Adrian's laughter or his jokes. Only me. Life really was transient. Nothing was really forever, despite how long you wanted it to last.
That's the sad thing about life.
I looked over at Adrian. His lifeless body lay in the sand. He was free of all the terrible things this world had to offer. He was free of the pain he had gone through for many years now.
I would be free, too. I smiled at him.
In the fading light, I dug a hole. A hole big enough for both of us. In such a short time, I had grown to love him more than life itself. We only spent 3 years together, and I can't imagine my life without him.
Adrian would think that was stupid. I laid the paintings out next to the hole, and I gently moved Adrian's body into the hole.
I laid myself next to him, and I let the sand fall on the both of us.
Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.