One Break, Two Break, Three Break Four
The first was so small it barely registered.
She smiled at him, but he didn't smile back.
It was quite possible he just hadn't seen, or understood the unsaid words, so she thought nothing more of it. These things happened. She sat in the back of the room, after all, and there he was all the way up at the front. Life was a merry-go-round of missed connections and misunderstood meanings.
The second made her pause.
On her turn to present her project, though the others politely smiled and nodded at her watercolor still life of delicate pink posies and bright red cherries, he sat stone faced.
Maybe it just wasn't what he was looking for. She searched the walls of his office, stalked his social media accounts, tried to get a feel for what he liked to look at it. Darker. Less frilly, less girly. More contrast. She could do this.
The third one, she couldn't breathe afterwords.
Her face red, she sat down after presenting her next project. The rest of the group cooed over it, gasped at how the moonlight and streetlights lit with tissue paper and christmas lights played and bounced off of the dark swaths of black and blue acrylic. It didn't matter. None of it mattered. He had laughed, and not in the delighted way.
The fourth, not even all the Knight's men could put her back together again.
In an effort to understand him, to make him understand her, she pleaded with him in his office. The words fell like dust to the ground as he told her - "You'll never make it as an artist. You'll never be successful. You think collectors want your girly, pop culture crap? This isn't what I've been teaching you, why do you keep insisting?"
She sat on the steps of the building, not bothering to wipe away the tears that flooded her cheeks, her misery sitting on her shoulders with the weight of potato bags. One break, two break, three break, four. An eager heart is again no more.