Sitting here in the museum of art, I like to look into the eyes of the portraits, knowing that person long dead is looking back at me through time.
Their stares so intent so ernest, the really good artists will capture their soul as it was for that moment in time. Staring back at them I try to think what they felt, who they loved, what they lost.
It’s a fantasy, I know, but it soothes my unease, all the thoughts lost to the channeling of that long lost soul trapped in paint.
If it is a pretty woman I wonder would we be friends, lovers, enemy? I see their young nubile body often nude, their small upturned breasts and soft waist and I wonder how they looked later, did they age well? Did that perfect bosom fall to their belly, deflated like an old sock? Did their unlined face with the clear eyes turn lined and grey? Did life drag them down?
I think, did the artist make love to them? Were they lovers long or was it just the closeness of the sitting, fast and furious passion, burning bright and rapidly, only to end just as fast as it started.
Moving on I see a man, in top hat and holding a cane. Was he successful? Obviously, he has a painted portrait, so it must be that he was. Did he have children? Was he happy with them? Why was he sitting for the portrait? Was it vanity, a gift for his family, a lover? Was he just a patron of the arts and supporting a young artist? Vanity I bet, I can sense it in his gaze.
I think of my dad, dead and gone, this is someplace that he would never spend an afternoon, instead I know he would be doing something else, probably golf or drinking with his friends. Or even taking me and my brothers to the lake to water ski.
He lives on in my memory, but after I’m gone so will he. His journey in time stopped.
Glancing back at the pictures I can see them, though I don’t really know them at all, through time.