You could see the wall was wet, see the way the paint shimmered slightly in the afternoon light. A sign declared the fact that it was wet, and thus implied you should keep clear and not touch it. But, I couldn’t resist. My fingers ached to press against that cool wet surface. I needed to feel the silky, sticky pigment against my skin. I stood there, in the middle of the path, staring at the wall as other pedestrians gave me dirty or confused looks as they were forced to walk around me. The strait line of the path interrupted momentarily by the human shaped bump in the road.
You could almost see the reflections of people as the walked passed the glistening wall, their shadows helping to cast interesting patterns on the surface of the paint. My right hand raised slowly of its own volition, stretching out towards the wall before I forced it back down to my side as another passerby grumbled and glared at me.
I wondered if the paint was wet enough to leave a permanent palm print in the surface if I pressed my hand against it now. Would it dry with my imprint forever trapped in its otherwise smooth finish? Would someone else notice my hand print and wonder who had made it? Who had dared to press their naked flesh into the wet paint?
“Irresistible, isn’t it?” I jumped at the sound of her voice, at the presence of someone standing right beside me and looking at the object of my obsession, instead of walking on by like the paint wasn’t even there.
“Like a siren’s song.” I whispered.
“Putting up a sign that just says ‘Wet Paint’ feels to me like an announcement, and invitation, don’t you think.” I nod, not taking my eyes off the wall, I’m beginning to feel a little sad now. Time is passing, the paint is drying, who knows how long it has left, how long before that enticing, beaconing call ends and the wall is returned to being just a wall. “Shall we?”
I look away from the wall now, her face is infused with childish whimsy, her eyes shining like they too are covered with wet paint, glittering in the sunlight. She raises her hand and waits for me, expectantly. I can feel my face break into an echoing smile of delight as, together, we press our hands into the wall, out pinky fingers just touching. Our hands look like butterfly wings against the matt surface of the wall.
It’s everything I thought it would be and more.