She.

(Pen Vogler by John Burke. BP portrait awards 2017)

With all her worldly wealth, she could not purchase belonging. Especially to herself. Her eyes thirsty for tenderness. Her muscles tense with want, her skin hungry for touch, her lips a straight line of dissatisfaction.

She hoped a painter might find her in his brush strokes and capture her on his canvas. She paid him a mountain, so he could help her find out who she might be … find out if she could meet her real self. After many hours of sitting still, with her hands clasped together in her lap, she was tired. She was tired of perfectly painting her fingernails bright red, for the painter. She couldn’t wait to see what he saw.

The day came and the painting was ready to be seen by her. Her eyes bulged out of her head, eager to find the joy she so wanted to find in herself. All she saw in the fore-ground, was a golden dress sitting beside a golden yellow lamp shade. All she saw in the back-ground, was the austerity of dark brown walls and furniture. That was the gist of it. The thing she was dying to find was not there. It was yet to be born. Those clasped hands held the secret. She knew what she had to do – unlock the door with those lovely hands and leave … for some place, white, blue and green.