She sniffed and wondered what that smell was. Pausing for the first time in hours, she half turned her head to glance at the attic door. A thin paint brush was glued to her dry lips and three more brushes stilled their ball juggling like movements in her hands. The large canvas before her demanded her attention back.
She looked at the overall painting and not just the small bottom sections she had been working on. It was a dark under the ocean scene with just a hint of rolling waves on top. She put down the paint brushes, gently removed the one from her mouth and stood up. Her body ached and protested, but still her bones clicked back and her muscles moved.
She walked away stiffly, like an hundred year old woman then turned once she had reached the bookcase. The painting filled her vision and the sweet banana smell lingered around her. What is that? She wondered and smelt the air again. It was a warm and rich aroma that hummed of homemade baking. It sang to her like a child with a sugary voice.
She shook her head and zoned back into the painting. The wreckages of ships both wooden and metal loomed out of the dark and eerie water. Sea weed and other salt water plants floated next to them whilst sea creatures of all kinds filled the rest of the space. It was good, life like yet with a handful of dark fantasy.
She took a note of different things, for example; the Kraken wrapped around the first wooden ship needed finishing. The hammerhead shark in the porthole faded too much into the background and she needed luminous paint for the jellyfishes. She hobbled back to her stool and sat down again. The two tables on both sides of the canvas and easel where packed with paints, brushes, jars of water, mixing trays, paper sketches and printed coloured photographs. She shuffled through everything and found an image of the hammerhead shark.
The colour is too dark, she realised as she compared things. Gathering a selection of grey paints, she began to figure out which one was accurate. The heavy whiffs of banana hugged around her and tugged her stomach away. Putting down the paints were a sigh, she got up and undid the apron covering her. Abandoning the paint encrusted fabric on the stool, she went to the attic door.
Opening it, she went down the steep staircase with bubbling regret. She stopped at the bottom and looked back up, knowing the painting wouldn’t be finished in time if she did this. She breathed deeply and the cake smell reassured her. She’d feel better it seemed to add. She went across the landing and down the two flights of main stairs to the kitchen.
She stopped at the half opened door and looked in. All she could see was the side of the fridge-freezer, some cupboards and to the other side, the edge of the kitchen table. The smell was at its peak but mingling with the hot oven and lemon cleaner. She opened the door, unable to stop herself and walked in.
From the table, her husband looked up guilty. Wordlessly, he slid an already full bowl over to her. The sight of banana bread in custard brought her almost to tears.
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