Once finished, I sleep fitfully, then the next morning, around the time of cafe assignations, I sit at my window to watch.
At precisely 10am I see my beloved arrive and sit, happy and excited at a café table. He is dressed exactly as I painted him, of course, and my heart breaks afresh to see his innocent joy as he awaits the arrival of his love. Her name is Penelope, a lovely name for a lovely girl.
A lovely girl about to die. I am struck by guilt for a moment, can I allow this to be? I look back at the painting and wonder if I can save her, stop this, by burning the painting, burning it now. But would that even work? I do not know if the painting needs just to be done to work, or whether its power would be robbed by its destruction. I have not tested that, do not know, but I could now, and in doing so learn something. I could save her for the moment, but leave the opportunity for me to continue on this path later should I choose.
What would a god do? What should I do?
But then time answers my questions for me – there is no time left. She is already hurrying down the other side of the street to him, dressed in the red dress of sacrifice I painted for her. I am struck by seeing her as real, and the guilt awakens afresh. She is young and vital, and he loves her, and how can I wipe her out from the world? Now I see her as a person and not just a hated, painful idea? Can I destroy the painting, even now, and save his love?
But if I was to burn the painting now it was very possible both she and my beloved would spontaneously combust below me. No, for now there must be resolve, the resolve of a god.
And then she is rushing across the road, and the car comes screeching through at the appointed moment, and the impact occurs. Even though I have painted it, I still sit up, shocked and bewildered to see it in real life. Real life and real death.
I see my beloved’s face change, just as I painted it, see him run to his love in despair, hear him cry out a moment later that she is dead, and see him fall by her side, weeping uncontrollably. He is holding her in his embrace, rocking her back and forth as if by this soothing he can call her back. But she is gone. I have made sure of that at least.
I want to go to him to comfort him, but even I know this would be obscene. I watch, sitting back from where I can be seen, watching others surround him in sympathy or just morbid curiosity. I watch, hidden, until the ambulance comes and the dead body of his love travels with him away from this bloody scene of my creation.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved