Near 500 words: Strawberries

Gilberte had always wanted to be a painter since childhood. She had given up her dream for love. After two husbands, she said, “To hell with love. I’m going to paint.” So she began.

At first, she wasn’t any good. Her canvases looked like a child’s smattering. Then she moved patiently from watercolor to acrylics to oil, each canvas a little better than the last. Six, then seven, then eight years passed. One of her exes came by and looked at her canvases. After he left, Gilberte said, “To hell with husbands. I’m going to paint.” So she continued.

In the ninth year, she had a burst of creativity. It was the strawberries that did it. She loved the taste of strawberries. She loved the smell of strawberries. She loved the texture of strawberries. She brought home some fresh strawberries from the market and put them in a bowl and out on the table. She went to the kitchen for some fresh milk.

When she came back, the strawberries sat overflowing from the bowl. They were a beautiful sight, the way the sun lit them, their reds such a contrast to the white table cloth.

She drank her milk. Then she went to her studio and brought back a blank canvas and her paints. She sat the canvas on its easel and began the process. First some white on the canvas and then some orange and green at the top, then came the bowl and finally the strawberries. She worked frantically so as not to loose the vision before her.

Again and again she touched her brush to the canvas. Over the next several days, the bowl of strawberries came to life on the canvas. Until finally, “Enough.” Then she signed the canvas, stacked it against the wall and waited.

Saturday her daughter arrived at the front door with her large daughterly smile and her large daughterly kiss. As usual she brought gifts which always made Gilberte think, “Beware Greeks bearing gifts.” The daughter took the fresh vegetables into the kitchen and washed them and put them away as she always did.

“So what have you been working on?” she asked her mother.

Her mother gave her the same answer as always, only this time she had a smile on her face. Her mother was up to something. “Have you been painting?” she asked.

“Maybe.”

Her daughter looked over in the corner and saw the canvas. She went up to it and picked it up and examined it, then she sat it back against the wall. She turned to her mother and said, “Strawberries? You know how I hate strawberries. They always give me a rash.”

When she left, Gilberte said, “Just like her father. Well, to hell with daughters too.”

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