Friday 3 November 2023

The Painting

The Painting

Mirabelle Jagoe looked at the full length portrait in the museum gallery.

Looked and longed.

She visited Halstead Von Bischoff at least once a week, twice when it was late opening once a month.

He returned her gaze, proud and haughty as if daring her to love him

Sometimes when she gazed at him long enough she almost saw a twinkle in his eye.

An acknowledgement. An ignition. An invitation.

And she thrilled as she imagined her life with him.

Centuries breached and forgotten, lifetimes almost touching.

The man who would leave her with nothing left to want

A master of horseback, masterful in the bed chamber

An unstoppable force of nature.

At home at night, she began dressing for him

Long flowing dresses with empire waists and satin trim

She studied intricate 18th century hairstyles on the internet

And practiced talking with her eyes in mirrors

She stopped going to work

It became hard to remember the city boy who broke her heart

That insignificance of a man from whom she first sought distraction in galleries

Von Bischoff began to meet her in her dreams each night

And implored her to steal his painting before it could be relegated to the gallery basement for another eighty years

He had a fine ship chartered for her.

They would sail away to the New World and start a new life

Her chance came. She noticed his room unattended one afternoon in the last hour of opening.

She walked towards the painting until for the first time she could actually touch it.

Trembling as the alarms went off she grabbed at the edges but before she knew it a muscular arm reached out, drew her into the painting and Von Bischoff wrapped his cloak around her.

Gallery staff rushed in to find Von Bischoff smiling broadly as he held a glowing Mirabelle, her golden locks spilling over the edge of his cloak.

Her coat and bag lay abandoned in front of the rope barrier.

They would never take his portrait down now.

©LS King




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