The Portrait Of A Lady

Basking in the sunset light that got through my window, while swinging my feet in the rocking chair as old as time, I was dreaming away of a life that I should have had, pursued by thousands of memories, bitter and sweet. The warmth of the blazing fire flooded the room, the hearth looked as if painted by a child who played with the hues of blood.

I was looking at the same painting that I had seen forty years ago only that then I hadn’t been alone. Meanwhile, time had brought so many changes; even the mirror that she had given me had remained the same: only the reflection was different.

The picture was surreal: the snowy hair falling on the worn shoulders that seemed to have carried too many burdens; those dark eyes reminding me of her youth, hiding a benevolence that could gratify even the most stone-hearted person; if it weren’t for the glasses, one would have thought that she was thirty when her portrait was made. In spite of her keen, meek smile, I could see beyond her joyous spirit a solitude and a cry that only the heart of a woman could hide.

She had taught me many yet her love for life had stayed with me all this time. I remembered she used to hide her sorrow behind the glimpse of a smile, and I knew she had so much love within her being that no chagrin could have tore apart her gentleness and replace it with coarseness; she was capable of giving that peace of mind that resembled greatly the healing wistfulness. All these virtues, they were all were depicted in a single portrait that I was staring at now. One talented painter with strong sensibility had put them together in a picture meant to keep her alive throughout time, and it was right there on the mantel-piece. It was not the picture of an old woman as you were tempted to say at first sight but the portrait of a lady.

How I wished then that I were half as beautiful and kind as she had been. And as I looked, there, next to the portrait of the one I once called grandmother, I saw her mirror reflecting my image. I was old…


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©2020 by Olivia S. Mitchel. All rights reserved.