I step onto the leaf-covered veranda, open the slender forest green door and step into the house. The reek of paint is unbearable. I immediately must cover my mouth with my crisp white shirt. I can tell that Isabel has just stumbled out of bed. Piles of thick manuscripts rest on the messy desk, along with a plate of uneaten jam toast. Her computer runs on screensaver mode on the unmade bed. An unfinished painting lies drying near an open window.

The doors stand wide open, creating a beautiful panoramic view of the wild backyard, covered in blossoming wildflowers. A gust of wind blows petals onto the mud-stained carpet. I walk into the garden and see that a rickety ladder lies against the brick wall, fresh paint dripping from the top rung. I climb up; holding a new paintbrush, my present for her intricately tied with lace, in-between my teeth.

I carefully walk on the roof. Isabel was lying on the roof, painting the rosy sunset, oblivious to the fact that I was waiting for her, paintbrush in hand. Her bedraggled hair is a deep brunette, and her clothes, like always, look like they were pulled from her cupboard in the dark. I shout “Hello!” and she looks up, her deep green eyes looking around and then finally fixing their gaze on me.

“Lilly!” She cries beckoning me to come over. She embraces me and I inhale the scent of her new shampoo. She smells like lemongrass. She accepts my gift gratefully, “I have just finished writing my book. I was painting to give me more inspiration for a sequel.” We chat for hours on the burning roof, until the sun rises, signifying noon and I must go. Back through the paint-smelling house and out the slender forest green door.