I left my name and phone number with Sally. I asked her to call me if by any chance she got another painting or if she got some information about the artist. I decided not to tell her that I was almost certain that I knew who the artist was. For now, it was going to be my secret.
I stopped by to see Miss Mabel on my way back home and thanked her for guiding me to that gallery. It had taken a while for her to “give me a sign” but it was worth the wait. Maybe my arrogant and open declarations of disbelief in anything mystical had prevented me from being nudged.
There were so many of Katy’s paintings on display and I wanted to study each and every one of them. “The Journey Of Life” had been painted when she was 65 years old and it was the last painting the gallery had received.
I didn’t dare think the worst as to the reason they had stopped. I was instead hoping that she had retired to a faraway island and was sipping piña coladas, while swinging in a hammock like the ones she had painted for Miss Mabel. I was hoping that by painting The Journey Of Life, it meant that her story had been told on canvas and she was finally saying goodbye to her horrific, painful past.
I went to visit Dawn the next day. This time, she greeted me wearing nothing but a towel…and the usual smile. After she excused herself to put on some clothes, she offered me what she called a nutritious, energizing, immune-boosting drink. I was polite and sipped on it while thinking it tasted like how I thought rotting seaweed must smell.
I told her that I found this gallery uptown and I was sure some of the paintings there were by Katy. I also told her about the “cloak and dagger” way the gallery had received the paintings over the last ten years. She surprised me when she said “I’d like to see them. Let’s go.”
We walked uptown and went into the gallery. Dawn walked around looking at all the art. Her tastes, unlike mine, included the abstract, the “what the hell is this supposed to be?” and the two eyes on the side of the face genre.
I was looking at The Journey of life. Suddenly I heard Dawn say “oh my God! That’s my horse! Look. It has the same eyes. The eyes are full of fear.”
Sally and I walked over and she asked Dawn what she meant when she said “that’s my horse.” Dawn told her that she had a painting of a white stallion on the enclosure of her fireplace. Sally asked her who the artist was and Dawn told her that she didn’t know. “Only the date is on the painting,” she said.
Sally said “only the dates are on these paintings. Same artist maybe? Hmm. This is getting curiouser and curiouser.”
“Dawn’s horse” had been titled “Escaping The Dark.” I had been so mesmerized by the “Journey,” memorizing every line, every curve and every stroke of the brush that I hadn’t even noticed the horse painting.
Sally said that a few children had been a little frightened when looking at that painting. I could understand why. The background was pitch black and a white stallion looked like it was charging right toward you. Sally said “almost every visitor remarks about how the horse looks like it is ready to jump out of the canvas.” She shook her head and said “whoever this artist is or was, is or was…truly, truly remarkable.”
Dawn told Sally that she would like to buy the painting. Again, Sally told her that it was not for sale due to the fact that they didn’t know who the artist was.
I thought maybe Dawn had a valid point when she said “well, they are here in your gallery. Because they came here anonymously, that would tell me that they belong to you. The purpose of displaying most art is to sell it, yes? I mean, the other artwork is for sale. Why not these?”
Sally said “if we sold them, who would get the money? The artist should, but we don’t know who the artist is.” Dawn said “give the money to charity. They were sent to you for a reason. That reason might very well be to help someone in need and the proceeds of the paintings could do that.”
Sally told Dawn that in all good conscience, she just couldn’t sell the paintings but perhaps in the future, if the artist hadn’t come forward, she would revisit her decision.
I wondered if I should tell Sally that we thought we knew who the artist was. It probably wouldn’t change her mind and we certainly couldn’t prove it, so it seemed like a moot point.
We decided to hold onto our secret for a little while longer.
To be continued_____________