She looks around her at the open box of paints, the bare canvas, the guitar leaning against the far wall.
"Paint me a picture," she says softly, and takes one step closer. Then, with a hint of entreaty, albeit subdued, "Play me a song."
I could do one better, he thinks.
I could paint you a song. I could play you a picture.
But he says nothing, he finds no voice to express the miles of sorrow and disappointment that have almost - but not quite - sucked him dry of hope or even anticipation.
He takes two steps back for her one forward, drops his hands to his sides, and unclenches his fists finger by finger.
She tilts her head to one side, waiting, then she grins, marginally but earnestly, and his heart aches with the desire to let her in. He knows there is no valor in loneliness.
It is she who retreats. "Maybe another day," she suggests.