Narrative Nudge ~ March 7, 2018

rudy van der Veen
Photo by Rudy van der Veen

3.8.2018: We thought they were happy.


2 Replies to “Narrative Nudge ~ March 7, 2018”

  1. In the post today: ‘Good Times’… some weekend reading I think… can’t wait… might dip into it tonight!

  2. Albert was married. He’d been a long time married and maybe he took that for granted as people who are married often do. He loved his wife, and he’d say as much if ever it cropped up as a thing to be said. But if truth was ever told, he wasn’t always sure – of love or anything.

    The museum guide stopped in front of the final painting. By this time Albert was tired and not really listening. It had been his wife’s idea – the museum and the group tour with a guide who spoke broken English and kept nodding his head till everyone was nodding so that they were all made complicit in the mistakes he made.

    Albert edged away from the group and with scarcely a sound he stepped into the museum shop. All along one wall there was a rack of postcards of some of the paintings he had seen. He thought he should buy one. He selected a card from the rack and approached the cash desk. There was a girl there, whose job it must have been to ring up the purchases, to take the money and to dispense the change. Only, she was asleep. She’d balled her sky-blue sweater into a pillow on the counter and she’d laid her head down for a minute and now she slept.

    Her blond hair was loose and spilled across the glass counter. She was young – difficult to put a figure to her age, but unaccountably Albert thought she was maybe a student at the university. Her skin was smooth like a doll’s, and her eyelashes trembled a little and her lips were like kisses waiting to happen. Her arms cradled the pillow she’d made and she was a sleeping beauty. Albert felt an ache somewhere inside, something familiar and at the same time something far off and remembered. He watched her sleep, a little guilty in the taking of every small detail of her; it was a picture he wanted somehow to keep. Artists must sometimes feel like he felt then, he thought. He wanted to capture the moment in all its delicacy and to take it away with him so that he could look it over at times when his day needed a brightness in it.

    ‘Where did you go?’ his wife said.

    He gestured to the sleeping girl. His wife thought they should wake her. Phillip shook his head, laid the postcard down on the counter and they left the museum shop without making a purchase.

    Outside the day was bright and the sky unbroken and blue. Albert was sure it had threatened rain when they’d gone inside. Albert took his wife’s arm and he smiled; she smiled, too. And if anyone had seen them like that they would have thought them both happy – and they would have thought them in love, too, that sort of love that is relaxed and old and comfortable. And though it is always much more complicated than that, it was also true – about them being at that moment in love.

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