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Paintings

This Woman Needs Saving

Dark Moon August 27, 2022

October 29, 2018

She is a few months away from a year.  A year since he died.  This is her first painting group.  She is drained, as though her blood, her heart, everything is gutted.  Hands shake, heart races, tears fall.  Elisabeth greets her tenderly.  Seats her at a table.

Her eyes travel over the absorbent and thick white paper, beside a blank sheet of writing paper, a tub of water, paper towels, a brown paper bag sits beside her chair.  

It seeps through her body, her skin plastic, her senses alarmed.  Surreal.  The whole world of herself surreal.  Suspended in another world, roads aren’t the same roads, people have been snatched or replaced.  She has gone away, her mind floating, disoriented.  Her brain seeping in chemicals, warping time and space, a new dimension.  Where is her compass, her north star?  She has traveled a great distance in one moment, a last breath.  An empty bed.  She has washed up on the shore of grief and she wants to die.

The woman looks at her hands, she has not painted for years, isn’t sure how she got here, yet is tired of words, of thoughts.  She chooses her paints.

Thick worms of blue, and black and white extrude from large tubes of paint.  Falling onto the white paper plate.  

She sees her, the woman who wants to die from the rending inside her, grief’s butcher slicing her heart to ribbons.  She leans over his grave, longing to join him.  When did she become the painter and not the woman exactly.  What shape shifting and when?  The painter paints, the woman feels.

She slathers color, blue sky.  He is blue.  She knows that.  She is turquoise.  She knows that as well.  Is this when it happened, as soon as she stroked the brush across the page, a relief of color.

The woman emerges under her brush, the wants to die woman.  This is not just a saying, “oh I just wanted to die right there on the spot.”  No.

This is crawling a surreal thousand miles to the grocery store, this is a black well of bottomless sorrow, this is an electrified, terrorized, network of nerves, miles of nerves pulsing danger, danger. This is scoured, carved, hopeless despair of the heart. 

Only eight months ago, she sang him into earth, back to the Mother.  Knowing she had to give him back to Her, back to life.  Singing, sobbing, speaking, sobbing.  She did that.

She did not know that she would have to bury part of her own life too.  How many times did she say to him, “I love you more than my own life”?   How could she not know she would die too.   And now, pain wizened, she is dead.  And she wants in, knocking at the door of eternity. 

She leans over the grave, his grave.  Their grave. Leaning far down, ready to throw herself down into the comfort of his presence.  She wants his bones next to her that carry old memory.

But her won’t have her.  Death won’t have her.  Hands grip her around the waist, a blue tree arches at her back.  She gives all her weight into his, hangs now above the raw earth, branches gnarl her fingers reaching down to where he lays. How long, the painter wonders, will she be suspended there, held in love by the one she so sorely wants to join.   The woman knows this decent is her own, and not to his world, no.  But to the world of a thousand dark nights.  To the alchemical fire of grief. To the funeral pyre of her own life.

She knows this, in some inchoate way, she always has.

What she does not know, is if she will return.

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