La Partenza

La Partenza – Watercolor – 10 x 15 inches.

I remember: she met her on a bright afternoon in April. It was obvious to all of us that within minutes they had become enchanted with each other, and so they began an enchanted summer together. In April, the trees along the western side of the lake were in bloom and I had given up trying to paint the white blossoms rising and falling on the surface of the water. I gave up trying to paint the two of them as well, except for this little watercolor, in which only one appears.

I was her friend, their friend. We spent many hours together hiking and riding bicycles and talking about nothing I can remember now. Except for a song we loved, very popular during that summer. Sometimes it sounded faintly silly, like a lot of pop tunes, but the lyrics turned out to be prophetic: “I won’t be afraid of winter when I remember the summer when you used to love me.”

One evening, the heat of July inspired us to haul their bed out of the house into the orchard, to fall asleep listening to the songs of owls and crickets. One morning weeks later, we woke up, the two of them tangled in each other’s hair, our blue sheets covered with a blanket of yellow leaves.

It’s September in the painting. The days are still warm as summer lingers, but the hours of sunlight grow shorter. Soon the green mountains on the other side of the lake will be covered in white. She had cut her hair, and other things. She did not look back. I painted her as I remember her, hesitating slightly, but not looking back. Even when she stepped onto the boat and out of our lives forever, she didn’t look back.