#36 The Painting

by Alan Jankowski

She stepped back and admired her handiwork. The painting had taken her months to complete. Someone in her grieving group had suggested she go back to painting after her husband died, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. She hadn’t painted in years, rarely finding the time after the kids were born. Now that she was alone again, she certainly had plenty of time. Time, the thing that seems so precious to some, and now it seemed she had all the time in the world.

Looking at the painting as it set upon the old wooden easel, she couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of pride. It seemed as though her old skills had never left, as if painting were like riding a bike, something you never forget how to do. The bold brush strokes, always her trademark, traced their paths in every direction. The bold colors spashed themselves upon the canvas, like waves breaking upon the rocks in the afternoon sun, vivid bursts of color appearing everywhere creating a party atmosphere. Alas, she knew it was just a deception, like the smile she painted upon her face every morning.

Suddenly, she felt faint. The realization that she was now alone hit harder than ever. She sat down on the sofa in the family room, grabbed a tissue from the box on the end table and cried herself to sleep. Tomorrow she’d have another painting to do, she’d have to paint that smile upon her face.



All of the short stories and most of the poems included in this volume have been published before, mostly online, though the majority of the stories will have appeared in print in various journals and anthologies by the time you read this. When I first started writing stories, and poems shortly after-wards, back in 2009, the last thing on my mind was getting anything published. It was something I did for fun, and found pleasure in. I was not until late 2010 when I had over a hundred stories and poems that the idea of getting anything published even occurred to me. Although since then, I’ve been published in various journals and anthologies, this is the first book of my own.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.

10 comments:

Lucy Pireel said...

Nice one Alan! I'm sure your book is equally great!

hulya said...

The protagonist's "bold brush strokes, always her trademark," feel out of control in the author's hands in touching realism: "They "traced their paths in every direction. The bold colors sp[l]ashed themselves upon the canvas, [...]." At the time of a loss of a loved one, who wouldn't resort to a form of art to express the sorrow inside, only to have the internal strength taken away. Maybe merely for a while. Still, one's breath is also taken away. Thank you, Alan, for giving us this powerful and moving story to which at least this reader relates perhaps a bit too much.

William S. Peters, Sr. said...

This is Awesome Alan . . . we love you at Inner Child . . . .

Cheryl said...

Nice!

Sam Knight said...

I love your last line. It is poignant and resonates deeply.

Daren Despot said...

your use of language embeds the story with a sense of deep emotions that utterly absorb the reader. excellent piece.

Archana Kapoor Nagpal said...

Like Always, a great piece of work. I have always enjoyed reading Alan;s writings. His book is a must read. Do grab your copy of 'I often Wonder',.....

SUNDAY IGWEBUIKE said...

nice story

Laura Howe said...

Nice job capturing the masks we often times wear to get through life after losing a loved one.

Deb said...

Nice, Alan! I like the bit about having to paint on her smile.