Ellis poured himself a glass of wine and sat down with his wife. She was crocheting.
“I finished it,” Ellis said.
“You did?” There was excitement in Carol’s voice.
“I did,” he affirmed. “A year I’ve been working on it, and it’s finally finished.” He breathed a sigh of achievement.
Carol studied where her hook needed to go. “Why did it take so long?”
“I just couldn’t get those final touches in. Wasn’t sure if I should or if I shouldn’t.”
“So when do I get to see the painting?”
“You can see it now if you’d like.”
“I’d like. But I just have to finish this little piece.” Carol returned her attention to her work. She felt a tug on the yarn. She looked down and saw the cat. “Whiskers. No.”
Whiskers paid her no-nevermind. He’d started his job, He wasn’t going to quit.
Carol threw a ball at the cat. “Chase that.”
The cat ignored her. He was ready to play, and he needed a playmate. He’d chosen Carol.
Carol turned to her husband, joyfully sipping his wine, satisfaction on his face. “Can you do something about that cat?” Carol’s voice was filled with frustration. “If you want me to look at your painting, you’d better.”
Ellis sighed. “Oh, all right. But hurry. I want you to see the painting.”
Ellis reached down and unraveled Whiskers from the yarn. He lifted the cat and carried him into the kitchen. “Want a snack, big fellow?”
“Don’t you feed that cat?” Carol called from the other room. ‘He’s getting fat.”
“Well, what do I do with him?”
“Play with him. He wants some attention.”
Carol was getting frustrated with the cat, with her husband, with the blanket. The blanket was not going well. And it was for her dad’s birthday three days hence. She laid it out on the couch and took a good look at it. “Darn. That’s not the color.” She headed into the bedroom to look through her yarn. There, she found it. Just the right color. Then she was back in the living room, comparing the yarn with the blanket.
Ellis stuck his head through the kitchen door. “You about ready to go see the painting?”
“Okay,” she said, looking up at her husband.
She lifted the blanket up for Ellis to see. “What do you think?”
Ellis studied the blanket with his painter’s eyes. Finally, he gave Carol his verdict. “It looks finished to me.”
“What do you know?” Carol said and folded the blanket and skulked off to the closet with it. Under her breath, she whispered, “It’s never going to be finished in time.”
Off the two went to Ellis’ studio. Ellis turned on the light. In the middle of the room was the canvas. A woman sat, crocheting. A man sat beside her with a glass of wine. In front of them was a table with a flowery table cloth. There was an empty chair in the foreground.
“What do you think?” he asked his wife as she stared at the painting.
“It’s beautiful. What’s it called?”
Carol leaned over and kissed her husband. Then she said, “It’s wonderful. I love it.”
Ellis wrapped his arms around his wife and embraced her. Looking over her shoulder, he saw something. Something was missing. On the canvas. He let go of his wife.
“No,” he screamed.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, panic in her voice.
“I should have waited.”
“But you’ve done it. It’s your masterpiece. I am so glad you showed me.”
“But it’s not finished.”