I will draw you a picture. Close your eyes. Wait.
Draw, or paint?
Alright. I am listening.
It’s two people dancing.
Is it us?
No! NO! For goodness’ sake. Don’t think like that!
Is it so terrible?
YES. Tom. Ugh. Don’t ruin it.
Alright. ALRIGHT. Carry on, your Highness.
Two people dancing, but they’re slow. A little rickety. There are stars above them. Hundreds and thousands of stars, and they are almost floating. Her hair is silver, ethereal…
Ahh. Like Persephone’s hair?
Exactly like that! You know, don’t you!
I like to think I do.
You do! Oh, you do. So she has her ethereal floating hair, and his is white as snow, brushed back tightly, just as he used to brush it in his days of youth. In fact I do not think he has ever stopped or brushing it like that or changed the way he got ready everyday.
You’re saying, they are dancing just like they did when they were twenty?
Ye-ee-eess. That is what I am saying. They are dancing in a window, you see, and the window is tall, with many pretty panes, and it curves at the top. Slopes up and then down. A beautiful rainbow of a curve. And each square pane is a picture of them dancing. In and out. Holding hands. Separating. Coming back together. And each pane is a different painting. There is a meadow full of poppies. An old house, dilapidated. He is young in that one. Muscular. She is so beautiful, and she holds him tightly. And in the next pane the house is freshly painted, and they are dancing close, but not holding each other, because their arms are full.
Full of what?
Little cherubs of children, of course.
Is this a moving picture?
It’s alive, Tom. Brimming with life. It moves and breathes, and there is a climbing rose growing about its edges.
Climbing rose. I like that.
It’s climbing around the edge of the window, and along all the frames which surround all the panes containing the tiny figures of my dancing couple. They are young and old. Near and far. Dear and departed.
Are there any where they are cross with each other?
Yes, a few. There is one where she dances away from him, her nose turned up, eyes closed, and he knits his brows together so that they make a nice long dark scarf. Oh, he is mighty cross.
Do they ever stop dancing? When they’re cross, I mean?
And this rose that surrounds them, is it thorny?
Roses, Tom. ROSES. And why do you ask such a question? I don’t know if it’s thorny. I don’t think of the thorns. I think only of the blooms.
What do you think?
I like to think of this painting. Drawing. Picture. Image. I think of it often.
It’s a little magical, I suppose.
Not very adventurous. But I never was, you see. You’re the one who wants to go gadding about the world, doctoring people back to health. I am quite content to stay here in a nice house overlooking the hills, rolling along with the seasons.
Pricking your fingers on the thorny rose bushes…
You’re laughing at me!
I am not!
You are! How cruel! I shan’t talk to you anymore.
Come now, Laura…
YOU may prick your fingers on the thorns. I never do.
You certainly do not.
You ought to paint your picture, thorns and all.
I shall, I think. And I shall ignore your comment about thorns.