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.
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]