He said he was going to bring his new guitar. His cousins were visiting and some of them were shouting at each other while they were trying to fix a truck. He came back after we started painting wearing a clean T-shirt. The air was cool and the birds were loud, chirping, like his cousins.
Rather than the classical playlist, we played jazz through the small speaker thinking it would go with the neighborhood. It blended with our painting practice instead. The towers were beautiful, standing high. The sky was gray and made the braided cement branches look darker at times.
Painting makes you see things differently. We were able to appreciate the details through the stacked segments towering like piled pottery. The towers seemed belonging to a temple.
In the background the planes were approaching landing at LAX, flying low through the gray clouds. Howling. A group of guys started their Sunday martial arts practice on the grass.
The tourists visiting the site were shy, communicated exclusively through picture-taking, unlike the neighbors that approached us and shared their life stories. They loved our paintings and the fact we were there. They are proud of their monument. It's theirs.
We munched on strawberries and nut bars as the paintings started to make sense. We left painting the colorful clusters of tiles, shells, and bottles to the end.
The day was perfect because it felt real, and the paintings came out great.
Photo: Jen Eldridge