Missing Clarissa

Not long ago my sister and I were discussing our blogs.   She said that I should write a story inspired by one of my paintings and felt that this painting would have a story in its imagery. 

This Post’s true inspiration is Sherry…..

Three glassless, aged, window frames share the verdant landscape of rolling hills and grasses. A row of trees run along a rich soil river and in the distance mountains rise softly in the afternoon sun.  The scene is quiet and reminiscent of a time not too long ago when life was not as complicated as it is now and when people spent their evenings at home.

Each night he sat at the window in the rocking chair, looking out over his land.  While rocking he read a paperback book, either a detective story or a western by Zane Grey. He stops to fill his pipe, lights it and swirls of blue-grey smoke begin to surround his head.

Potted plants, sit on window’s edge and gives little pleasure to him, although he remembers that promises should never be broken.  In her last hours, Clarissa asked that he care for her plants and cat. Their importance to her was known by him and when his craggy hand brushed hers,  he uttered one simple word: yes.

The cat, sits on her haunches, with head against the window and raises up slightly searching for what may be outside in the darkness of night. “Diamond, she won’t be back, you know that.” Diamond looks at him, eyes wide open, jumps down from the ledge and goes to him. Hesitantly, he lowers a ragged hand and touches her head. After looking up, Diamond stretches, then raises a paw to say, “I know.” She returns to the window to continue her vigilance.

The flannel shirt hung on the back of the rocking chair, the cap on the window and the blue shoes have never moved from their spot. He leaves them there, they were Clarissa’s. He dares not to move them. They need to stay where she left them. When he sits in her rocker he is careful to keep everything just as she had it.  He must keep everything in its original position or he fears Clarissa will be upset forever.

Rubbing the wood of the armrest brings a tiny tear to one of his eyes. He rises, holds the chair back and speaks out loud, “Clarissa it’s time for me leave here and be with you.” He looks to Diamond and questions, “You also ready?”  Diamond jumps to the floor and runs to him.

He opens the door. and they cross the threshold. He tips his head to one side and Diamond does the same acknowledging they are ready. Together they walk off into the night leaving the door open.

As time passes, what is once seen is often forgotten. Then, a trigger is before you.  It makes you think — You know it is not part of your world, yet you know everything that the trigger has drawn you too.


One thought on “Missing Clarissa

  1. I have loved and been haunted by this painting from the first day Frank shared its first brush stroke with me. It invoked so many thoughts and certain memories with me that I wanted Frank to tell the story from his point of view. It is a little guache in the world of art to ask an artist to explain his or her work. After all, from the artist’s point of view, they have already done so! But since my brother is a multi-media artist and a writer as well, I invoked the power of a big sister and pushed for it. Frank will have to tell you how the story came about, but as writers find, sooner or later, a piece of art has its own voice and its own story to tell.


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