By Mira Khatib
I stood there mesmerized as I stared at the figure in front of me. The deep lines on her face told a story of a life well lived. I was only a child at the time around 10 years old and one of my secret pleasures was when I visited my great aunt’s house. I would sneak in to the grand salon which was usually locked up and opened only for very special occasions just so I could spend time admiring the grand painting of the old woman that hung in the center of the main wall.
I would let my imagination run wild to the many paths this old lady walked, and what made her sit down for someone to paint all the fine lines, creases and those eyes that showed wisdom yet some flare as well?
I would run to my great aunt and question her about that painting, who painted it? Who was the lady in it? My aunt seeing my enthusiasm and curiosity would never give me a straight answer allowing to feed my imagination even more.
Years passed and I was in my teens and my connection to the painting and the old lady which I named Grace grew with me. My monthly visits to my aunt’s house became a habit with my ritual visits to Grace hanging graciously… waiting for me. I befriended Grace I shared with her so many of my dreams, aspirations, fears and secrets, I felt she understood me and never judged.
My aunt said her farewell to this world and I felt I had no choice but to say my farewell to Grace as well, my aunt’s house was going to be closed off and all her belongings would collect dust along with Grace.
I tore away my gaze from Grace as I gave a last long look into those eyes that I grew to know every line and color. I went home with a heavy heart that day mourning the loss of my aunt and my beautiful painting.
The following day I found the painting delivered to our house, my aunt has left the painting to me. I was ecstatic and thankful for my great aunt for not ending my friendship with Grace.
But like most things change is inevitable… I grew up, got married and relocated with my husband and could not take Grace with me, but unlike many whom carry pictures of their loved ones in their wallets, I carried a picture of the painting of Grace.
I realized that this painting has given me so much happiness and luck in my life; it filled it with meaning and passion.
I went on to becoming a writer and a good one at that, and I wrote the many stories and adventures that I once imagined Grace had lived.
Thank you Grace…thank you for being the key behind unleashing my imagination and living the many dreams I imagined through you.