Two years had passed. Katy was still haunting me and often visited my dreams. I would see her standing in front of the house or kneeling beside Miss Mabel’s grave. Every time I called to her, she disappeared just as I awakened.
I was getting along with my life but I wasn’t really living. I was sleep walking. I went through all the motions of daily chores and at the end of the day, I still talked to Katy’s bear. I hadn’t kept my promise to myself or to Miss Mabel and I finally admitted that I was a miserable failure.
I started walking uptown just to get out of the house. All of the major department stores that used to grace the landscape had given way to craft shops and specialty stores. Vendors were selling everything from Voodoo dolls to herb gardens.
For some reason, I happened to walk down a side street paved with bricks. “How charming is this?” I thought. I could imagine horse-drawn carriages traveling from one end to the other, delivering ladies of yore to the local dressmaker for a new frock.
A one time shoe repair shop had been replaced by an art gallery. I admit that I didn’t know the difference between Manet, Monet or Tippy-Tippy-Day-Day. I also admit that I had never appreciated the kind of avant-garde abstract art being displayed in the store front window, but for some reason I went inside.
There were partitions, posed to resemble walls of rooms. There were paintings by local artists as well as reproductions of famous works. Portraits of someone with both eyes on the same side of their face had always disturbed me and were, I thought, perfect means of evoking nightmares. I gravitated toward the realistic ones. The ones like Katy painted.
One in particular caught my eye. The painting was of a female’s age progression. I asked the curator, who had introduced herself as Sally, who the artist was and she said that she didn’t know because they didn’t get any paperwork nor could they find a signature. “There’s only the year,” she said. “2016. We titled this one: The Journey Of Life.”
It was at that very instant, I started to believe that Miss Mabel had guided me to that gallery. I also believed that not only was I was looking at Katy’s work…I believed I was looking at Katy. The curator said that she believed all the works in this particular “room” were painted by the same person.
I was sure they had all been painted by the same person. I was sure they had all been painted by Katy but I didn’t say anything.
I asked her if I could buy one. She said “we get a lot of offers for this particular artist’s work but they aren’t for sale because we don’t know who they belong to.” Looking at “The Journey Of Life,” she said “one person offered us a sizable sum for this one but we had to refuse.”
I understood why they made an offer and so did she. She looked at it and said, “have you ever seen such detail? Look at the progression of the hair color. It looks like this artist painted every individual hair on every individual head and it gives you the sense that if a cool breeze blew by…the hair would start flowing. Look at the faces. The faces show every line and wrinkle that tell the story of this woman’s life. I’ve never seen work like this before and I have studied art for almost twenty years.”
She stepped back and said “you can see how time touched this person…but look at the eyes. They eyes never change. There’s such a deep sadness in the eyes.”
I asked her how she came to have them. She said “every so often, we would get a painting delivered. There was never a return address and as I said, they were never signed. Then, two years ago we stopped getting them.”
I asked her if she knew why and she said “maybe they died, or moved away but we’ve been here for over ten years and we had been getting them since we first opened. It’s a shame, really. Such a fine artist and I don’t think anybody will ever know who they were.”
To be continued____________________