Because Red is Beautiful

On a journey to her Paris dream, Katie meets a man she falls in love within three hours. But as they separate, Katie realizes it's foolish of her to think she has fallen in love with a complete stranger.
She tries to forget about him and soon she becomes a famous artist in her dream city. Her passion made her known but her curiosity for the stranger in the train always showed in her work.

Two years later, they meet again. But what would Katie do if she finds out that the stranger she met on the train is no longer available?

The story is about struggles in life, dreams coming true and falling apart, romantic tragedies and new discoveries about one's self.

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3. 2 (Goodbyes)

I was by the door when the train stopped, him behind me.

 

I looked back at him as I carefully went down and I don’t know if he’s coming down with me…if he’s coming at all, not wanting to let go of the moment.

 

But I doubt it.

 

“So, I guess this is it.” I smiled and he nodded. “I, uh, I’ll see you around.”

 

“Yeah,” he nodded again, more carefree this time. “I wish you all the best, Ms. Artist.” He bows and I laughed.

 

“And you as well, Mr. Journalist,”

 

I was hesitating to move but I walked a couple of steps away, bag in hand, when he called me out. I turned around and he was jogging towards me.

 

“Okay, I really can’t go to Versailles without knowing your name.” He says and I grinned.

 

“That’s right—we haven’t exchanged names,” and I felt foolish having been talked to him for hours without knowing his name in the first place. “I’m Katie.”

 

He held out his hand and I took it, shaking it gently. “I’m Christian.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” I laughed again. I pulled away and waved awkwardly as I went on. But for the second time he held me up.

 

“Katie,”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I want you to have something. If that’s okay,” slowly did he walked towards me and pulled out something from his jean pocket.

 

“Okay…” I whispered and he hands over a red handkerchief. It was a simple red handkerchief with a small Eiffel Tower knitted in the corner in black. “Wow. This is—wow—um—it’s really—”

 

He was grinning at me again, that grin that touched his beautiful sea-green eyes. “I know. So have a good time, okay?”

 

I nodded too eagerly and pulled something out of my own pocket. “I don’t have anything Versailles or La Rochelle material. But I do have this.” It was a pocket watch with Paris scribbled on the lid. It was silver but the word was in red. To be honest, I didn’t want to give this to anyone. This was my grandfather’s pocket watch. But I’m already in Paris. This was to take me here. “I want you to care of this. So you never lose track of time,”

 

His eyes widened at the gift as I put it around his neck. “Okay, this is—um—”

 

“We’re even.” I winked and he nodded, that big smile forming again. “Good luck, Christian,”

 

Without another word, he enveloped me in his arms and kissed my forehead.

 

“You too, Katie,” he whispers.


If people knew we only just met, they’d think of this gesture as peculiar. But they don’t know and I know they’d think this was sweet.

 

I think it’s sweet.

 

I think—

 

I sighed as we pulled away. And as soon as I smiled, I started walking away, sure now that he won’t call me or go after me…or even see him again.

 

 

~

 

 

I wanted to shout to the whole city: I ARRIVED.

 

I’m here, Paris!

 

And I’m not letting you down.

 

 

~

 

 

Two Weeks Later

 

I have my apartment filled with blank canvases, my paintbrushes unused; my oil and paint untouched.

 

What happened to me?

 

I came here filed with inspiration and now I’m all out.

 

“What the hell happened?” I yelled at myself as I stared out the wide windows of my crappy little apartment. I sighed and leaned on it, my forehead bumping hard on the hard glass.

 

I closed my eyes and I saw his eyes looking back at me, his lips forming that wide smile.

 

I can’t get him out of my mind!

 

I sighed again and opened my eyes to the bright morning light. And then the most amazing thing happened—inspiration.

 

If I can’t get him out of my mind, I can get him into my paintings.

 

I get to work; pulling the biggest canvas I had and grabbed my small bottle of green and my big bottle of blue, taking the jar of oil and my number twelve paintbrush.

 

I began.

 

 

~

 

 

Two Months Later

 

My apartment was filled with various paintings, all scattered on each side, my paintbrush suspended on the table. I stared at the rising sun on my wide window and smiled.

 

Pierre’s coming today—he’d take a look at my work. We can put up the gallery by next week. Oh, I’m so excited!

 

Then just as I was doing my happy dance, someone knocked on the door and I hurried to open it. I forgot I was in my thin white tee and shorts without a bra or a robe. Pierre raised his brow and stared at me from head to toe.

 

“Oh crap!” I muttered and shut the door. “Oh crap!” I repeated and opened the door. “Come in, I’ll be need a minute.” I rushed to my bedroom and grabbed a shirt thick enough to hide me and returned to the living room. “Hey, want tea…?” I offered as calmly as I could and he gave me shrug.

 

“Which one of these should I look at, Kate?” He asks me, flipping through the canvases closest to him.

 

“Everything,” I said. “Anything, really, and I was wondering if you could get my works exhibited next week. Mamma’s coming.” I added and went to the kitchen, pouring a cup of tea for Pierre and a cup of coffee for me.

 

“I’ll see.” He sighs and I handed him the cup. He took a sip and kept on looking at the paintings. “Kate,”

 

“What?”

 

“What’s this all about, really?” He eyed me carefully and I shrugged, giving him my most convincing carefree shrug. “Oh c’mon, no one would look at the city from a painting, Kate. They’re living it. Anything else more interesting…?”

 

This guy is really a tool. I groaned to myself and gestured for him to follow me. I took him near the bedroom door where my other works are.

 

They were mostly about Christian and the train ride and my experience with him in those three hours of endless interesting conversations.

 

They were paintings of his smile, his eyes, the view, strange figures emphasizing strangers…everything. Even the salmon was included.

 

Pierre nodded at the painting and I took that as a positive sign. He smiled convincingly and I showed him the rest of my paintings. There were a lot so I didn’t have trouble giving him my best works.

 

I didn’t know how it happened. I just knew that I got busy and by the time Mamma arrived, I had something to be proud of. She had something to be proud of.

 

The months blurred together. I had quite the show. Critics were impressed and Pierre was happy with my progress.

 

Set aside the brief one night stand he and I had, we were good and two years went by.

 

 

~

 

 

For the past two years I’ve been having complications.

 

I mean, I’ve been having some complications when I was in my teens but this had been different. Lately, it’s been more difficult.

 

Sometimes, I feel like I’m drowning. I mean it wakes me up night because I couldn’t breathe properly. Besides that, I couldn’t actually lie down without having this feeling of getting your air cut off.

 

Pierre noticed I was getting paler and more often, I was sweating excessively. I was afraid that I was sick again just like when I was young.

 

But I tried to avoid that thought.

 

I got so anxious one night I called my mother.

 

“Dear, you have to go to the doctor.”  She says, her voice muffled through the phone. “It might be something bad.”

 

“Do you think it’s like…when I was…?”

 

There was silence on the other end of the line and my heart swallowed me.

 

“Mamma…?”

 

“Don’t think that, Katie. Just go to the doctor in the morning and tell me what he said as soon as you get out the chance.”

 

“Okay,” I whispered. “I love you.”

 

“I love you, too, dear.” And the line went dead.

 

 

~

 

 

I was whirling. The doctor’s words echoed in my head.

 

I clutched Pierre’s hand as I tried to breathe in but I couldn’t.

 

“Pulmonary Edema—”

 

Pulmonary Edema can be caused by congestive heart disease—

 

Heart disease—

 

Papa had heart disease—

 

No, think straight, Katie.

 

Think straight.

 

“Katie,” Pierre tightened his hold on my hand and I gave a small smile.


Relax. It’s not really—

 

“If this isn’t treated, it might be life-threatening.”

 

Gee, thanks, Doc. I groaned but nodded at the man in the lab coat. “Thank you for your time.” I said quickly as I rushed out of his office. I didn’t even ask what treatments I should get.

 

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

 

I’m sick. I’m finally on top of my game and I turn out to be sick.

 

“Katie,” Pierre calls and I turn around, my head suddenly light that I lost track of everything. My sight blurred and the next thing I knew, I was falling.

 

 

~

 

 

I stared out the window. The sun was setting and the buildings cast eerie shadows down the streets and the other buildings they block.

 

I stared out at the life I’ve lived to love. I stared out into the city I’ve only dreamed but now have.

 

I stared out and knew that in any moment, this could all disappear. It wasn’t fatal. No. I shouldn’t believe that.

 

But when am I sure that I couldn’t be taken any second I let my guard down?

 

It wasn’t meant to be like this. I was healthy. I was okay. I was alive. And now I’m closer to death than I realized.

 

I sighed and kept on staring. I might as well record this to memory than shy away from it when I could lose at any given point of time I don’t pay close attention to life.

 

God has plans. I believe that. My plans aren’t even half of it, isn’t it?

 

I went to my table and sketched the city as if I hadn’t painted it already. I sketched my old house and my house in Washington and my grandparent’s mansion in Saxony.

 

I drew everything including the four trains I took to get here. I sketched Pierre and my first exhibit, my first show, my first buyer. I drew my grandfather’s Paris pocket watch. I drew the red handkerchief—

 

Where is that handkerchief? I asked myself and flew to the bedroom. I searched through my dresser and after minutes of looking, I sighed in relief as the handkerchief revealed itself trapped between a green cardigan and a blue pair of jeans.

 

“You look exhausted.” Pierre murmured as he sat up on the bed. “Did you eat dinner?” He asks me and I shook my head. “C’mon, I’ll cook.”

 

 

~

 

 

Pierre and I live together. We don’t sleep with each other but we live together. He takes care of me and I couldn’t be more thankful.

 

Before, he was only this guy you go to if you’re a new artist looking for something to give the eyes of the public.

 

Now, he’s more than that. He became the best friend I never thought I’d have.

 

And he’s the best cook you’ll ever see.

 

“You know what I don’t get about mushrooms,” I began as I waited patiently on the table as he cooked dinner.

 

“What?”

 

“They’re so small and look so fluffy but they aren’t that delicious.”

 

“Hey, watch your mouth,” he says and I laughed. “You should start eating more healthy food, love. You’re looking paler.”

 

“I know.” I sighed and let my head rest on the table, my handkerchief clutched tightly in my hands. I smelled the tomato sauce flooding the chicken and my stomach grumbled in hunger.

 

“Dinner is served.”

 

“I couldn’t be luckier.” I smiled at him sweetly and he rolled his eyes playfully as we set to eat in this little kitchen of ours, surrounded by the little things we love altogether. 

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