Friday, February 11, 2011

Brave in Lace

The Last Happy Painting

This is the painting I bought at Art Walk back in December. Jeffrey asked me why I loved this simple painting so much. I said, "It whispers a hundred stories." He said, "Tell me one."
She lives at the cliff's edge in a house miles from town. It's just a small house. Really not much more than a bunch of old boards hammered together. It seems to hunch over in the cold light of dawn like a girl with a too-meager shawl. Aside from the view, the only remarkable thing about this place she's called home for so long is the curtains. Lace. Beautiful lace. Those curtains always remind her of Mr. Dicken's description of the female Cratchits "brave in ribbons." Her house was brave in lace.
She was going to miss that lace. And the view. And the sound of the surf that is so much a part of her, she breathes in time to it. How can she leave?

How can she stay?

It's 1928. Her father is in jail for bootlegging. Each night her mother coughs blood into a lace-edged handkerchief. Her brother has taken over the family business and spends most of his time in the woods. Or on the run. The government men often come around, asking questions. A young, good looking one tried flirting with her the other evening. As though big brown eyes and a nice smile could make her forget herself. Forget what she owes her family.

... It was a nice smile, though. A little dimple at one corner. Never mind.

She has dreams. Big dreams. And no time to waste. She knows this is the moment. She knows that if she doesn't leave now, she never will. If she doesn't leave now, that editor will give her job to someone else. Her mama will grow weaker and she'll find more and more reasons to stay. She'll end up breaking the only promise her mama ever asked her to make. And so she must go.

She places her father's old fedora on her head. No jaunty angle - she's too nervous for that. But the old hat warms her and somehow lends a bit of courage. Her mother is sleeping peacefully for once. Better not to wake her. A gentle kiss on the brow and the goodbyes are finished. She closes the door quietly behind her.

Without looking back, she walks away.

Eric Vaughn called this painting "The Last Happy Painting." I wonder why?
This is my first time to participate in Gigi's Freewrite Fridays. I hope you'll join us. It's great fun.

29 comments:

Kamana said...

thank you for introducing me to freewrite fridays. maybe this is where you will share all the hundred stories that resonate from this painting? :)

Tracy said...

This is the loveliest story, Relyn... You have a very affecting way of creating a short, short story big on moment and emotion--WOW! Thank you.. And I agree on the painting, there are stories there. :o) Happy Weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Rita said...

I love, love your story and I still think you should write a book! I love you.

Jenny said...

Beautiful story...love how concise it is yet it suggests so much more. I agree on the writing a book thing!

Jayne said...

Relyn - I came here by way of Mapie, and so glad I did. Wow, all that from a picture. Exquisite, deftly composed short. You have talent by that fire. ;)

Suz said...

a Hallmark movie in the making
What I loved about that painting
is the light...captured so well
so magical...
well done

Connie said...

I love this story! AND I love that your husband asked you to tell him one :)

Kelli said...

Beautiful! :) Relyn, you are so very talented.

If you get a chance today, stop by my blog. Your name was mentioned. ;)

Jennifer Richardson said...

OH I hope there is a
"to be continued"!
Love!
You write so beautifully
and from such a rich
place.
-Jennifer

Tracy said...

Beautiful! I'm awe stuck. Such a lovely start to Friday. xo

Gigi said...

Thank you so much, my friend, for participating in Freewrite Fridays, and for sharing this wonderful character study here and over at my place. You never cease to inspire me. xoxo Gigi

jackie said...

relyn, your writing is so amazing! you are truly talented my friend.

Anonymous said...

Relyn, how can I possibly describe how proud I am of you. This story is phenomenal! And I know you have at least 99 more of them in you! I am so grateful for your God-given talents and that you are using them!

And I agree with Connie; I'm so thankful for Jeffrey who is unceasing in his encouragement.

Love,
Mom

Diane said...

How do you do that? It would take me forever to make up a story like that. It's very good.

little hat said...

Lovely blog Relyn. Very positive and inspiring - not to mention well put together and beautifully written. Thanks for dropping by my blog. It's weird to think how the internet has changed our lives - surprising connections possible across our beautiful planet.

dulcy said...

Very sweet story beginning. Sounds as though great adventure is in her future.... oh my.... her poor mother!
xo
dulcy

Nieves R said...

Relyn, it is very nice the story, you got so much imagination, I guess your hubby was quite pleased after you answered him question with this story.

By the way, I have just started my third blog, it is a photoblog called SNAPPING LIFE, where I will keep posting photos taking by me of different matters, places or countries. It is just a new born (with only three posts!) but it will grow little by little. In case you feel like visiting it to have a look, this is the link:
http://snapping-life.blogspot.com

Have a lovely and relaxing weekend!

Suvarna said...

my dear you can spin the yarn! love this sad but hopeful tale full of new beginnings.
xoxoxoo

Scrappy Grams said...

Yippee! What a tale!

SE'LAH... said...

was coming by for my sunday morning poetry but love exploring your imagination with you ;)

one love.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

It fits perfectly with your picture, see how she inspires you? She was worth every penny and so much more!
Love you friend ~ <3 me

Lisa said...

What a great story! I'll have to check out Freewrite Fridays. Happy Valentine's ♥ Day and week! ; )

Amy said...

So ... when is your first book coming out?! :)

susanna said...

Terrific!!! Relyn, I want to read more of your stories! You know, with these posts and your love for reading and reviewing books, have you thought of writing your own book?

And on another note, my favourite subject when I was a kid - well, aside from art - was creative writing. I loved it! My favourite lesson was when the teacher told us to each pick an image from a basket of magazine clippings and to write a story about it.

elizabeth said...

I would love to read more of your stories!

Jeanie said...

Oh, my -- I have been a bad visitor. And oh -- what a wonderful story. I'm glad you are writing these short little stories here. They enchant.

Deborah Carr said...

Your voice sings.

gkgirl said...

Oooooooohhhhhh....I loved this!
Write more, write more!
:)

gkgirl said...

heeheehee...
I was just going to write
"how did I miss reading this"
when I saw my very own comment right above it!
i might have forgotten reading it,
but it captured my heart again!
:)

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