Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Tree

There is a painting, a painting that has always hung in our dining room since my earliest memory.
It is a small painting of a tree, a painting of a small tree. Nothing more than that… A sapling growing in a hedge in an anonymous landscape. It measures twelve inches by eight and is set in a good guilt frame.

I have always imagined that the tree was painted by my father, painted by my father before my birth (my birth that killed him) not far from the house where I was born.
When I imagine that picture now I see it as part of a much larger canvas and in that larger canvas to the left hand side stands a young boy, a twelve year old boy, watching the artist as he captures his subjects; both the tree and the young boy.
The artist is oblivious to the child.
I lost sight of the painting when I became alienated from my mother many years ago, I feared that it was lost to me, that it rested in some bric-a-brac shop in Antwerp or on some strangers wall. Misunderstood.
I have missed that painting dearly for most of my adult life; it was ‘home’. It was the father I killed, painting a tree.
And in my imagination he painted me into a corner.
Last week I saw my sister for the first time in many years, as we were about to part she informed me that she had something of mine in her attic. Mother had given it into her safe keeping for me many years ago.
It was the painting of course.
Thank you Honey.

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