The Toltec Arts

Memory Smudge

This is from a Half-Hour Challenge on the Inkwell, dated Sept. 04, 2011. The theme was “Smudge.” It’s only up here because I finally have the courage after Lilith’s and Silver’s kind posts.

Memory Smudge

Her heels clicked on the stone floor. A pace of random footfalls sounded as she decided which path to take.

The last time she was in this museum was when she was a child of five. A long-haired little sprite with black patent leather shoes. Without knowing that, she chose similar shoes today, while she was at the hotel. Heels replaced the comfortable flats of childhood and stockings stood in for the little socks with lace.

El Prado, in Madrid, was her favorite museum in the world because here was where she first spoke to the painters and they let her see their souls and thoughts. Twenty years later, she could identify any painting from here.

Things had changed, however. Figures on the canvas were in different places from where she remembered them. A dwarf’s beard was thinner now. Hunting dogs were different breeds than the originals in paintings she knew so well she could step into them. Bosch’s Garden of Delights was now even more frightening to her than his and Bruegel’s visions of hell and torment. His heavenly light was now stark, illusory, and vain.

She struggled to remember the true paintings from her youth. Her memory had smudges in it.

Her memory gave her another perspective on Goya’s images of war. The soldiers gunning down innocent men were to the left, shooting to the right. The innocent gazed in fear of the soldiers. Now, however, it was all off.

Goya showed her the insanity and darkness of man – his fear of death, his senseless killing, his disregard for others and his own horror at having such brothers. The innocent looked dirty and beaten. The villains were never clearly shown, as if their shame was fully embodied in the expressions of their victims.

Back then, El Greco taught her that the abstract could also be classic. The luminous holy quality of light seemed to emanate from the core of those men and women. They were always surrounded by darkness, yet their own light illuminated their paths so they were never blinded by it. It never pierced them.

Now, it shaded and isolated them.

As a girl of five, she fell in love with Albrecht Durer, known as Durero. He had another face for her. Her child’s eye could see him as he was bodily, not in the elongated form he was that reminded her of El Greco. He was her first love, a light haired blond, like her grandmother. His enigmatic smile contained the balance of a man, his knowing and accepting look. He captured every nuance of his personality in that smile. There was love, pain, quiet joy, egotism, and kindness. That was the key expression, the sum total of the man captured in his two dimensional doppelganger.

Now he had no smile because the Thorazine robbed her of the magic that gave him life.

[edited for blonde vs. blond, thanks to Andalusa]

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Comments on: "Memory Smudge" (12)

  1. Oh wow, this would be a great start to a novel. I fell in love with it right away and I want to know more. Very good.

  2. George, this is truly beautiful writing. Images do change with time; our childhood memories are revisited in the now, and we see them through eyes and mind informed by all that has happened to us in the meantime… Being robbed by Thorazine is an apt description; that’s how I felt about my short time on Lithium… Surely she will learn to recapture joy and the essence of this beautiful life.

    I’m sorry it took me this long to come by, but I have been having major depression problems and just didn’t have it in me. I need to read more by others, see beauty like this.

    You moved me with this, and I thank you. Peace, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/absinthe-3ww/

    • Thanks Amy. I’m happy that you liked it. I remember your description of the Lithium, cement in the veins. She’s learning 🙂 and balancing.

      I understand, sorry that you weren’t feeling up to things. Anytime you need a boost, let me know. I’m always willing to let you know what a wonderful and beautiful person you are!

  3. George: This is truly lovely. Have you read Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind? If you haven’t please do so, because your story has that flavor. The longing and the foreshadowing that the “Thorazine” line gives the reader is as if we are being drawn into a dream we are not quite sure we want to succumb to, but we can’t help ourselves. Good stuff!

    • Hi Eleanor, thanks for stopping by and liking my short tale. You are a real sweetie. I haven’t read Zafon and I will now put him on my TBR list, thank you for the recommendation. You keep writing too. Your last post was outstanding! I know good things are going to happen for you, know that I’m rooting for you!

  4. Hi George,

    This is really beautiful and moving; I will continue to read more of your blog, as well; wonderful writing…Thanks also for “liking” my “Intolerance” poem and for subscribing.

  5. Hi George,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I thought I should check you out as well.

    It’s funny how things look differently to us as we mature into adulthood. Even some things from when I was in my late teens seem different that I remember.

    It’s a really lovely story.

    • Hi Jodi. Thank you, that’s very kind of you. It’s definitely odd. Also odd is how whichever dog I currently have in my life is the smartest and most beautiful one ever to me. I guess it’s just the magic of doggies 🙂

  6. Hi George

    thanks for stopping by yesterday, it was nighttime and daytime for you. It was an impulse post –‘proofing up with the Kardashians’ …I had it ready 3 days back but hesitated to post it! Nice you found it a hoot…I just love that phrase 😀
    have read your stories, they’re impeccably written and your style shows right through…will subscribe..thanks

    your background image is superb -superliciouly super!

    • Hi Valsa. Your post totally made me crack up laughing! I’ll be back for more. You shouldn’t hesitate to post great stuff like that. Thank you for liking my stories and my art 🙂 I really appreciate it. I’ll be stopping by your blog later to check out the rest of your stuff. Thanks for the subscribe too, Ditto!!!

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