The following is a short excerpt from my book Living Red, a young adult fiction about the importance of trusting your intuition. Peyton is an inquisitive young woman searching for truth in a world far in the future. While struggling with the secrets her grandmother is sharing with her about life before and after the war, she meets Dallas. This mysterious young artist makes her question life even more as she is drawn to him and his painting in ways that she can’t explain. These secrets and their growing relationship send her on a path of self-discovery and adventure. Can she uncover the truth but also find love in this future world?
As I turn the corner, I glance at the next section of sunset paintings. Out of the corner of my eye I notice something, like a word or an image in one of them.
“Hey, can you show me that one again?” I ask the guy covering it up, unsure of what exactly I saw.
After he does, he turns to face me, and I look into the darkest eyes that I have ever seen. I try to turn back to the painting, but I am momentarily struck because the pupil seems to just blend right into the iris. I know they are probably just dark brown, but I see something in them just like I did with the painting.
“Hi. My name is Dallas. Why did you want me to uncover it?” he asks as he tucks a loose strand of his dark brown hair behind his ear.
“I am not exactly sure,” I stumble, not wanting to sound foolish and explain that I saw something in it that isn’t there, ”It is an accurate depiction of a sunset though.”
Dallas chuckles as he turns back to the painting.
“Okay,” I mumble as I start to walk away.
“You never told me your name,” he smiles as Reese walks up to us.
“Oh, my name is Peyton. This is my friend Reese. Do you work here?”
“Nice to meet you Peyton and Reese. This weekend I do; at least until I sell all of my paintings,” he answers.
“Oh, I thought that you were just covering them up for the night. You’re the artist?”
“Yes. I painted all six of these accurate depictions of sunsets,” he chuckles, “although I do paint things other than sunsets too.”
“Sorry. I didn’t realize you painted them. You look so young.”
“I will be eighteen soon,” he laughs again.
As I tell him that I just turned eighteen also, I ask, “Where did you go to contemplative school? Did you just graduate or are you still attending?”
“Actually I went to art school,” he says as an announcement stating that the Art Gallery is closing in five minutes comes on.
“I guess they are closing now. Are you ready to go, Peyton?” Reese asks me as she turns to Dallas and says, “Nice meeting you Dallas.”
“Yes, nice meeting you, uh Dallas,” I stammer as Reese pulls me toward the door.
“You both, too,” he says as he turns back to covering his paintings.
The woman that let us in hands us a flyer as we walk out the door. I crumple it up and stuff it into my pocket with one backward glance.
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All through my day, no matter where I go, or what I do, I am always looking for the good in people, in the world, in my life or even just in my day.