The Easel

By Ira Zadikow

Marvin Feebish hadn’t lived the most exciting of lives. He always loved art though, which he chose to pursue as a career. However, making a living as an artist can definitely be a challenging pursuit, which Marvin came to be acutely aware of.

Marvin was relatively lucky as the years wore on, being able to pay his bills, and even save a tiny bit of money. There had been some tight scrapes, but he managed to successfully persevere through them. Of course, achieving some stature of fame or recognition, and their attendant economic rewards, would also have been nice, but alas, these higher achievements alluded Marvin.

Marvin’s friends had all gotten married, and were in the midst of having kids and raising families. Marvin had not gotten lucky enough to find his one, true love. Actually, Marvin was not very lucky-in-love, and had not developed many romantic relationships.

One day, Marvin decided to walk home from a sign-painting job, he needed to be outside and do some thinking. He was walking, wrapped up in thought and distracted, when he happened to notice a for sale sign on an adorable little cottage. He didn’t just take down the phone number, he took the entire sign with him, and he called the number as soon as he got home. He would meet the owner at the cottage the next day.

The owner was an extremely charming older woman. Her husband had died recently, and she was selling it because she was going to move closer to her daughter. It was ideal. It was picturesque, in the woods, right by the lake. It was the place that Marvin had always wanted, had always dreamt about. And, then it hit him. He actually had dreamt about this place, just a couple days ago. And there was a beautiful woman there, the woman of his dreams. But, he quickly dismissed that thought, he couldn’t have really dreamt about this particular place, he was just confused. But, he then got another strange feeling, a feeling that this woman also seemed familiar to him. He brushed the thought aside, it was just one of those déjà vu type feelings that you get once in awhile.

The woman was leaving a lot of her belongings behind, mainly the furniture, kitchen things, some other items, she asked Marvin if he could use any of it. But one item specifically caught Marvin’s eye, an easel in the corner, with a blank canvas on it. He asked the woman about it, she said it was her husband’s. Marvin told the woman that he was a painter also, that this was a very good omen. She told him stories about her and her husband, when they were young and in love, and the family that they lovingly raised. She told Marvin that she had been planning to take the easel as a memento of her beloved husband, but, she would leave it with Marvin instead. She told him that it would bring him luck.

Over the next week, Marvin got together for lunch with the woman a couple times, in between working and getting ready for his move. He liked the woman, and he felt a connection with her, a bond.

Marvin moved into the cottage the next week. The painter’s wife didn’t make it to her daughter’s, she died that week. Marvin was quite upset about, even though he hadn’t known her well.

Marvin started painting the next weekend. He decided to start with a portrait of the old woman. But, after he started, he decided to paint her as a young woman, as what he thought she would’ve looked like. He worked painstakingly on that portrait, it was the most time he had ever devoted to a painting. When he was finished, he just sat at stared at his work, at his creation. She was beautiful, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He was very satisfied, but, he was also extremely sad.

He went to sleep that night, and had a dream about the woman in his painting. It was an extremely realistic dream.

Marvin woke up in the morning to find the woman at his side. He was startled. She looked at him and smiled. He went to look at the canvas where he had painted her, and it was blank.

Ira is a native New Yorker, originally from Brooklyn (long before it was cool), and now lives in Manhattan. Nine years ago he started writing business oriented documents, and for the past several years he’s also been doing some creative writing. He’s lived several lives as far as work, and is a total music junkie. He can be reached at zadikow@hotmail.com.

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