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Basquiat Triptych

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The first time he sees it, Edge is standing beside him. The gallery is crowded and Adam has to bend a little to speak into Edge's ear. Edge answers him, but it's the little shiver Adam sees as his breath ruffles Edge's hair that he'll always remember. That, and the way Edge sidles closer and glances up into Adam's eyes every now and again while words and thoughts about the painting dance back and forth between them. Adam's words are ones like confusion, yearning, cacophony. Edge's words are line, disclosure, unexpected, revelation.

They buy the painting the next day.

Afterwards, the painting hangs on the studio wall back in Dublin. Adam feels an odd little twist in his chest every time he looks at it. He's never said anything, but he thinks perhaps Edge knows because in the too-short hours after sessions Edge likes to lay his head there, right over the place where the memory lives. Adam loves Edge, in a way he doesn't really have words for, but makes him feels like the man in the painting, skin stripped away and his inner workings exposed.

He doesn't mind when it's only Edge who can see.

They're back in the studio again. Different men now, perhaps Adam most of all. Older, greyer, maybe not so stupid. Maybe. The painting's still there, the only unchanged thing in the room. Adam watches Edge's determined concentration on every part of the studio except that one wall. He's not the only one who can't look at it. There are memories there Adam can't shake, memories in black and blue graffitied on his heart. But the Basquiat belongs to times past and it's off to Sotheby's tomorrow.

He and Edge have already chosen the painting that will take its place.