Kamika Cooper and Victoria Nesson

Victoria Nesson
“Green I”
Inspiration piece

Envie’s Ivy

by Kamika Cooper

Envie didn’t drive a sleek, black luxury car or live in a swanky community with manicured lawns. She didn’t have a savings account and could not remember a time when she wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck. Aside from sick days – hers or her children’s – vacations from work were not an option. She was constantly tired, always on the verge of the next illness, and felt as if she could not catch a break.

On the contrary her younger sister, Ivy, enjoyed a luxurious existence. She breezed into rooms like the wind, with a smile on her beautiful face. She looked, smelled, and walked like money. Ivy was single with no children, to Envie’s three, and had no obligations to anyone but herself. She took lovers when she wanted and found ways to lose them when the spark had run its course. She jet-setted between bustling cities and quiet remote islands on a whim.

Ivy sought to help her sister, but this always resulted in some sort of sharp-tongued kerfuffle which left the two not speaking to one another for several months. It was during one of these periods of silence that Ivy came to be ill. Her quality of life saw a rapid decline and there was nothing more the doctors could do but make her comfortable. Envie came to her baby sister’s side and held her in her arms, full of regret for all the horrible things she had last said to her. All of the years of jealousy and resentment now came down to this: Ivy had wealth and popularity, but was suffering and withering away from life. Envie had life and had wasted her adult years sneering at her sister for her success and wealth instead of finding her own – now she was going to lose her.

She spent the next month making Ivy’s days and nights as peaceful and loving as possible. She told her that she was proud of her, and apologized for the times of tumult they had experienced over the years. They talked and laughed as much as Ivy’s energy level would allow. Envie’s children decorated their aunt’s room with painted pictures of rainbows, sunshine, butterflies, and plush hills in various shades of green which faded into tiny circles as Ivy closed her eyes and took her final breaths.

It came to pass that Ivy left Envie everything she owned – a great mass of riches and possessions which changed the trajectory of Envie’s life. Her children and husband were happy, she was healthy, and she finally got the vacations that she had wanted. Yet at the end of the day, driving down the street in her sister’s sleek black luxury car, bank account fat and possessions abound, she felt poorer than she had been just a few months prior. Envie came to realize that she had been rich all along, having lost her most valuable possession the day Ivy closed her eyes.


  1. Posted June 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm | #

    The painting is lovely. The writing adds unexpected shades and dimensions, capturing the complexity and wild turns life can take. Author Kamika Cooper’s play on the shades of green (with Envie), and the way that life moves in circles is a beautifully drawn reading of them lightly textured painting. Impressive!

  2. Posted June 13, 2018 at 4:42 pm | #

    This story added depth and complexity to the painting. When reading it I found myself seeing the lives of Envie and Ivy as the image complimented it well. Well written and excellent!