but old photos prove it existed
At 17 I was restless. The power struggles between me and my grandparents resulted in frequent screaming matches over what felt like unfair punishments and rules. I spent an inordinate amount of time confined to my room.
Fortunately, there was a large framed painting that hung on the wall. I spent hundreds of hours staring at it from my bed, willing myself to fly through its open window and sail out over the salty marsh into the clear blue yonder. The sunhat wrapped with a billowy scarf and the fresh picked flower resting on the sill spoke of a carefree existence I ached for.
If you leave here tonight, you will never be welcome here again are the last words I heard as I stormed out the front door with a handful of belongings. That was the night of my 18th birthday. Within the year, they forgave me, but instead of moving back home, I retrieved the rest of my things, including the oversized artwork I had to wrangle into the back of my Datsun B210.
I spent the next 16 years too often carelessly unkind and also often despairing. I remained restless and in every house, every relationship, the picture hung around. It whispered promises of escape. I tried for years to conform, to be the good mother, the good wife, the person others felt I should be. I wouldn’t admit I might need help. My remedy was to run, and that piece of art represented the freedom I desperately sought.
It was 1996, another move, another run. I don’t remember taking the picture down from the wall or packing it. That was the same year I finally said yes to counseling and began surrendering my attachment to running away. I began healing.
There are no photos I can find of the artwork and I have no memory of it in any house I lived post-1996. It disappeared around the same time my need to fly through its open window into the clear blue yonder faded away.
This is the 35th story in the Objects as Waypoints Writing Project series.