When does that love thing actually happen? It’s so hard to find the root that tripped you, after the fall, with those misty rose-colored glasses securely fixed on the bridge of your nose. Candy’s most recent Tumblr post (click here) might highlight that moment, even if she herself doesn’t recognize the trouble she’s in yet. She’s currently posting about a “collaborative art” project underway between her and her new friend, Sam; the two of them are taking turns painting and drawing on the walls of an old cabin in the woods.
When the novel, The Tramp, actually begins (right before school starts, Fall 2014), Candy is more than familiar with the power Sam Castle wields over her. By that time, she is looking back, remembering when she first met Sam at the beginning of the summer. Read how she thinks about the dilapidated shack then, the walls of which are the canvas where Candy and Sam are “battling with paint”:
Candy met Sam earlier that summer, right after school let out. He was part of the painting crew that her dad had hired to spiff up their family shop’s interior…She had wandered into the shop one day and saw Sam lying on his side, one elbow on the floor, his head turned nearly upside down so that his earring lay against his cheek, with one arm arching over his head to pull out a delicate, unwavering corner edge of paint…He was concentrating hard, chomping gum and rocking out wearing headphones, so he didn’t know she was there.
But she had made sure to hang around acting busy when she knew the paint guys were finishing up for the day. When she sidled over and casually asked Sam if he ever painted anything else, he had turned adorably shy, admitting to drawing some. Candy recognized a budding artist when she saw one, and she encouraged him to talk about his drawings, but he simply smiled and asked her for her phone number. She was confused, yet happy to supply it.
Later that night, she received his text, “Some of my stuff.”
She gasped as she clicked through the attached files–half a dozen photos of his bedroom wall, adorned with some of the most passionate, honest, horribly beautiful drawings she had ever seen.
The next day, she presented him with a gift box of charcoals, and after work she led him to the old cabin about a twenty-minute walk in the mountains south of the shop, where her brothers used to party in high school. It was an ancient, tiny, rotting one-room cabin that the twins, Drew and Simon, had found in their Sophomore year of high school. They had used it as a secret hideout and upon leaving for college had passed it on to their younger brother Max. Max, in turn, initiated Candy with great fanfare the previous summer, right before he took off himself. Candy used it for a place to get away and write poetry or read, normally preferring solitude more than a party.
She had led Sam in through the sagging doorway, sweeping her arm wide and grinning, “I would be honored if you’d decorate my walls in the artistic tradition of your bedroom.”
He had stepped in behind her, ducking under the low arch and investigating the moldering room with a wry smile.
“This palace is all yours?”
“Honestly, I think it belongs to the forest now,” she had said, motioning to an oak tree branch growing through a gaping hole towards the ceiling. “But they let me stay here a lot.”
Sam sat down on the old resident love seat and leaned back comfortably, crossing his ankles in front of him, his eyes twinkling with mischief. “You know what that’s gonna cost you? Hiring a master artist like myself?”
“I’ll be happy to pay it.”
Her brothers always called their hideout The Shack, but she and Sam called it The Palace.
–excerpted from The Tramp, by Sarah Wathen
Candy’s first Tumblr post about the collaborative painting she and Sam produce on the walls of The Palace is scholarly and detached. Click here for Candy’s Tumblr blog.
She catalogues the developing work, “Me: blue stain. Sam: charcoal.” ; “Me: blue and red glazes to push the “caverns” that seemed to be developing backward and forward with the grain of the wood…Then, Sam just found all these shapes developing and ran with it.”
But, her next post which she calls “Is it really collaboration when you feel exactly the same thing?” speaks volumes about the way things are turning. She’s beginning to admire him and feel a deep connection between them. She can find few words for the first image (shown below), a drawing of bright red flames. “It’s almost like I made this myself, its so close to my mind,” she writes.
When she creates the sunrise and shows it to Sam…
…she writes, “I think Sam almost kissed me when he saw it.”
If he had, do you think she would have stopped him?