Happy Sunday, everyone! I can tell it's going to be a lazy one for us and in that vein, I'm going to let someone else tell you about this painting. I really enjoy hearing what emotions, memories and ideas my work elicit in others.
I call this piece Empty Apartment. And the mystery guest blogger is my wife. She wrote this a few months ago. I'll post the link to her story (https://vocal.media/art/you-don-t-live-here-anymore), but I'll also reproduce it here for convenience:
A young girl stands in her empty home. All the boxes have been loaded. All the arrangements have been made. There's no turning back.
She doesn't cry. Her blue eyes can't hold any more tears. She'd not sad. Not anymore. She's not even angry. That passed weeks ago. She's flat.
She's empty, as empty as the 3 bedroom military row unit she's being forced to vacate after her entire 14 years of living. A life that's been reduced to 5 large boxes and a garbage bag, as it happens.
Everything she knows is here, everything she's ever known.
She walks around. The place seems so small now, yet so large in an uncomfortable way.
The kitchen linoleum gleams as a result of a fresh scrubbing and waxing. It was important, her mother told her to make sure they left the place spotless.
She stood by the fridge one last time, just to check she still matched its height. It had taken her all those 14 years to make it. Five feet, an entire 60 inches. She was convinced that milestone would mark the end of her troubles. In fact, it was rather anticlimactic.
Livingroom, hallways. The basement, where she'd spent countless hours playing and later, hanging out with her friends. Where as a preschooler she was part adorable mascot and part pesky baby sister, watching her brother's band practice.
She wandered through her parent's bedroom, once forbidden territory unless expressly invited, then her brother's. Then her's. The floor was dented in 4 places, small circular indents marking the posts of her bed. The closet, once chock full was bare.
She took a marker out of her little white leather purse, entered the closet and wrote in large writing, the bubble-like letters that signify a teenager's scratchings:
Misty wuz here!
Something fundamental had changed in her, in her world. She examined her message and told herself, "You don't live here anymore."
She didn't know it then, but that little military housing unit, with its 3 bedrooms, neat postage-stamp yard, and small refrigerator was the only home she'd ever have.
She'd have apartments. She'd have houses. She had places where she laid her head and stored her stuff. But she never had another home. She lived in a lot of places, but never LIVED in any other place.
The feeling was different. She could never recover it, that warmth, that deep-seated sense of belonging in and to a specific place. The feeling of loss was so deep and so profound that it never really went away.
That little girl was me.
She grew up and had a family of her own. She dreamed of moving back. If not to the house, at least to the town. But the house was torn down and the town isn't the place she remembered.
Again she told herself, "You don't live here anymore."
She contented herself with the dwelling she had. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't home. Not to her, but it was to her 3 boys.
Until the Christmas of 2010. There it was again, that profound feeling that the universe had shifted, that something very precious and very familiar was being ripped from under her feet again.
Her oldest son came home from university for the holidays. She was so excited to have her firstborn baby back. There's a special feeling that exists between a mother and her first child and seeing him grow into a young man filled her with an intoxicating mix of pride, joy, and a bit of sadness.
He arrived on Christmas Eve and planned to stay through the New Year. But after the presents were unwrapped and the turkey was reduced to nothing but a carcass, the carefree joy of the occasion faded into a strange sense of polite uneasiness.
Something was different and it didn't feel different in a good way. Nobody mentioned it. She could feel that same sense of loss rising within her but had no idea why.
Her son, the handsome co-ed came upstairs, his bag packed. He was going back to school early. He saw the disappointment in her eyes and started to explain..."It's just....well, Mom, it's just..."
She smiled weakly. It all made sense, the familiar feeling from all those years ago, the loss of something that had been part of her for so long. But this time, there was more than empty sadness and an empty bedroom, there was a pride and a knowing that this was the natural order of things.
"I know," she hugged him, "You don't live here anymore."
That's what this piece brought up in her. Now it's your turn. Tell me what thoughts, feelings or memories my Empty Apartment brings to your mind.