2 min read

#76: Still Life

#76: Still Life
Odd Spot - The Age - 28/03/2022

Grace stops for a moment. Her phone poised above Rory's finger painting. The mash-up of reds and blues somehow is a portrait of her. Is this how her son sees her? A blurred, angry mess?

Her hesitation is that this painting isn't something she wants the world to see. She can't claim it is someone else, as the little shit already knows how to spell the word 'mom', and has done so in that childish scrawl of his in bright purple.

This woman Rory has painted is manic, never settled, always moving, always fidgeting, always scattered.

Grace can read the comments from her mother. There'll be those passive aggressive snippets of insight about how talented he is, and how accurate the portrait is. They'll all be affirming her failures as a mother.

She puts down the phone and gives Rory another page. "Hear, Rory, do another one of Mummy. This time I'll pose for you."

She can feel Rory watch her as she settles and stares at him. He's confused.

He points to the already completed painting. "Mummy," he says.

"Yes, and it's wonderful. But Mummy wants another one."

"Okay, Daddy."

Rory dabs two fingers into the green tub of paint, and without hesitation, Peter's face emerges.

Within minutes Rory captures Peter's essence, which to the outsider will come across as serene, ever present, non-judgemental. Rory uses greens and blues, emphasising his stability. Peter is Peter.

And right now, as Rory shoves the completed painting over to her to photograph and upload so Nanna can gush over it, she hates them all. She hates Rory for seeing her for who she really is, and she hates Peter, and his needy mother and Facebook for allowing this real time criticism to exist in the first place, and she hates her phone for having a camera in it and she hates herself.