He stared at the tiny painting on the wall. He remembered how it got there from what seemed a lifetime ago.
“Why aren’t there purple cows, Uncle G?” she asked.
“Well, certain things come in certain colours. That’s just how things are.”
“But if you can get to choose, what colour would a cow be?”
“Hm. I’d probably paint cows green. Or blue. Or both.”
“I like them purple.”
“Purple is a good colour, too.”
“One day I’ll paint a purple cow.”
“I’m sure you will.”
“Then I’ll show it to you. Ok?”
“I’d like that,” he said with a smile.
It was a balmy summer day, and the sun was beginning to set. They were just finishing their walk around the park.
“It’s always so nice walking with you, Uncle G.”
A warm fuzzy feeling grew in his chest. “I enjoy walking with you too, Aisha.”
As they neared their stop, she let go of his hand and ran towards her mother. He could faintly hear their conversation “Did you have fun, love?”
“Yes, mama. I like taking walks and talking with Uncle G. He is such a nice man.”
They walked to the edge of the park together, exchanged goodbyes, then parted ways. He wandered back to his apartment block, soaking in the view for what could be the last time. He was at the door of his studio before he knew it.
He heaved a big sigh at the sight of half-empty boxes waiting to be filled. “One more week,” he said to himself. He carefully picked his way amongst books, gadgets and travel souvenirs. He eventually found himself standing over a box of his acrylic paints
and brushes. Jutting out was a tiny canvas, still white.
Impulsively, he took some wrapping paper and a felt-tipped marker. He covered up the canvas, wrote a short note, and sent it off to a little girl across town.
Two weeks later, he walked into his new apartment half a world away. As he scanned the jumble of boxes waiting to be emptied, he saw, tucked in the corner towards the balcony, his paints and brushes. Next to it stood his easel, and a blank canvas that he
bought just the day before. He smiled. “Today,” he said.
He took out his palette, cleaned his brushes, and started painting. He painted a field of blue grass and orange clouds. A yellow farmhouse and pink trees. He took a step back and smiled. “All I need now is a purple cow…”
The next day, a package was waiting at his door. He knew what was inside even before he saw the return address. It was a painting. Of a purple cow, grazing in a field of blue grass.
The orange clouds were extra bright as they reflected the rays of the setting sun.
He got up from his seat. It was time for his afternoon walk. “Purple cows,” he said. And he smiled.