Helen Lewis and Hildie S. Block

Helen Lewis

Too many ghosts



Hildie S. Block


Inspiration piece

It is time to create, but every time I look around, the room grows more crowded.  I lift my paintbrush to the canvas and into the room walks my ex-wife.

Q:    What are you doing?

A:    Trying to paint.

Q:    How could you do this without me?

A:    You were not here.

Q:    (she points) I am here.

It’s true; she was there, buried deep in the fibers of the canvas.  I begin to furiously ready my brush.  My mother walks in between me and the canvas.

Q:    What are you doing?

A:    Trying to paint my ex-wife.

Q:    Don’t you have anything else to do?

A:    No.

My mother disappears but for a second I see her disappointed grimace reflected in the far bottom corner of the canvas.  Again, I am about to touch paint to canvas when my daughter tugs demandingly at my sleeve.

Q:    Let’s go!

A:    I can’t.

Q:    Why not?

A:    Because the paint is calling to me to tell a story.

Q:    Who cares?

A:    You will.

My daughter takes her stuffed puppy and mopes into a corner.  Her face burns from the corner through the canvas until it is superimposed over my ex-wife’s.  I peer out over the top of the canvas at the generations of women talking loudly and sipping wine.  They crowd around me as I again begin to put color onto the stretched fabric.

Chorus:     Paint!

A:          When?

Chorus:     Now!

A:          Why?

Chorus:     You have no other choice.

My sister sits next to me on my stool.  “I will stay and help,” she says.  “You can go now,” she tells them. And in single file they all leave by the only door, the last one locking it from the outside.



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