h1

Katie Weaver and Marsha Koretzky

June 16, 2008

Katie Weaver
Shadows

Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 30″
Inspiration Piece provided to Marsha Koretzky

Shadows
by Marsha Koretzky

The late afternoon shadows are what I remember best, violet against white stucco and deep greens and golds in the garden. On that last day, before the train whistle blew, I asked Marianna’s daughter to take my picture. Outside, where I smelled salt and felt the sun on my face and let long seagrass tickle my shins.

“Do you want some from inside the house, too?” Sonia, the daughter, asked.

“No, no, baby,” I said. “I only want to remember here. Nothing from inside.”

Marianna’s ghost hovered, looking for her way into her bedroom. I hoped she’d stay where she was, peeking through the southern windows. I didn’t want her in the pictures.

I tried not to look at Marianna and combed my fingers through my hair. There were no flowers like this at home. Sonia snapped a shot before I was ready. It was okay, she said, we’d take another.

I stood next to the big bush near the side door for the next one. But Marianna was staring at me, and I couldn’t concentrate on “Cheese” for the camera.

She looked better as a ghost than she had for months.

“Marianna,” I said, “You’ve filled out.”

“What?” said Sonia. She didn’t believe in ghosts. Didn’t believe in Our Savior either. Didn’t believe in much of anything, I don’t think. Still, she was a nice girl. She loved her mother. She sold her condo and commuted an hour and back for her job in the city just so she could help me with Marianna’s care.

People think that ghosts are all white or fluorescent green and translucent, but they’re not. They are all their own colors, like what they were in life, but paler, like shadows of what they were. In life, Marianna’s hair was white, of course, and her eyes a piercing blue, even in those last days when she was too tired to fight me anymore or to eat or even take a sip of the Ensure. It looked like her ghost had been to the beauty parlor because although white, her hair was done up in a bouffant, like my mother wore back when I was little. Instead of the housedress she’d worn for the six months I was caring for her, Marianna’s ghost wore a gown of soft lavender that deepened almost to black in the shadow of the house. It was a ball gown, I think, and she wore sparkly beads around her neck and wrists. She was beautiful. But she wasn’t supposed to be here.

I came to Marianna and Sonia after the insurance ran out, and they couldn’t pay for the agency girls. I was lucky to find them. My last patient had died three months before, and I’d had nothing but housecleaning since.

I told Marianna to stay put, that I didn’t want her in the picture. I had to think it because I didn’t want to hear Sonia’s ‘what?’ again. I prayed to Jesus to let the dead rest, to show her the way home so she’d stop looking at me with that lost sadness.

I’d done everything I could to send Marianna on her way. I touched her forehead after Sonia had run sobbing from the room. I made the sign of the cross even though they hadn’t wanted a priest to come in for the Last Rites. After they took her body away, I moved the furniture around so she wouldn’t be able to find her bed and crawl back under the covers. She’d been in that bed enough. Eight months all told. It was time for her to move on.

Marianna lifted a small fist and banged on the bedroom window. I thought I heard a whimper. Sonia’s eyes traveled over side of the house, almost as though she was watching her mother. I wanted her to stop looking at what she did not believe was there.

I leaned over and gathered flowers into my arms.

“I’m ready,” I said and put on my coquette smile.
The shutter clicked. The shadows moved over the house. A train whistle blew.

“Good-bye, Henrietta,” Sonia said. Then in a whisper, “’Bye, Mom.” And she sat down in flowers. I let her cry then.

——————————————————-

Katie Weaver
The Dream Group

Acrylic and paper on canvas, 12″ x 12″
Painted using Marsha Koretzky’s story (below) as inspiration

Dream Group
by Marsha Koretzky

We have Dream Group on Thursday nights. Maggie, a bulky Jungian, is our facilitator. She has gray hair pulled back in a tight bun and wears muumuus and clunky turquoise jewelry.

There are four of us in the group, all women of a certain age, all sure that our dreams will explain the meaning of life. We are on the cusp of Fulfillment, almost ready to Follow Our Bliss, as soon as our oldest gets a job, or we get up the cold nerve to dump the insensitive husband, or we find the job that combines passion with pure joy.

I am an obedient member of the group. I eat cheddar cheese and drink milk right before bed to increase my serotonin. I leave my dream notebook and special pen on the night table. As my eyes get heavy, I recite affirmations and incantations to myself, begging my unconscious to show me the way.

I wake up Thursday morning from a drugged sleep and reach for my notebook, handmade with a picture of the Goddess on the cover.

I am in a deep forest, I write. It is dark and verdant; I can smell the decay and rot of rich black dirt. I hear leaves rustle behind me. As I turn, I see a Being in the form of a man. He is tiny and, at first, I think he is some kind of magical being sent to show me my Path. I am excited as I wait for him, feeling the touch of Nature, her dappled sunlight on my arm, her soft breeze caressing my face. The Being crashes through the underbrush and I see that he is not a pixie or an elf, but a dwarf. Frightening, ugly. He wears Lederhosen like one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarves and leers at me. Suddenly, I see his nose. It’s running and I hand him a tissue.

I’m wondering what Maggie will say about this as I enter her living room. The dream has disturbed me; I woke up in that confused state that always means the dream is Important.

I sit on a couch that smells of old cat pee and eat some Dream Cookies which are really Lu’s chocolate covered biscuits. I check to make sure I have my fifteen dollars and wait to be Enlightened.

Linda comes in first. She tells me for the fiftieth time that she’s ready to move on, to sell her business and move to Fiji. Lois is next. She’s excited because last week her dream told her to quit her lawyer job and start writing romance novels. This week, she is sure, she will tell Maggie her dream and learn how to finance her new life. Suzanne rushes in; she’s had another fight with her thirty year old son who doesn’t seem to understand that separation is part of growing up.

Maggie makes her entrance five minutes late, as usual. Her muumuu billows around her, and her bracelets jangle.

“How are we?” she asks, and we all tell her how much closer we are to following our dreams. She nods her head as she listens, a sage for the dissatisfied.

“I’d like to introduce you to my son,” she says when we’re finished. “He’s going to sit in tonight.” She looks proud as she continues, “He’s doing his thesis on dream work.”

“John,” she bellows, sounding just like I do when the kids are late for breakfast.

John walks into the room. He doesn’t shuffle or slump. He is beautiful, and he knows it. His hair is graying, but it is full and thick and long. His body is taunt and sculpted like one of the buff, gay boys in Chelsea. He sits, and then looks each of us in the eye as he says hello. His smile is sexy and self confident.

Maggie invites me to go first. And I start to read.

“I am in a deep forest,” I say. “It is dark and verdant; I can smell the decay and rot of rich black dirt. I hear leaves rustle behind me. As I turn, I see a Being in the form of a man. He is tiny and, at first, I think he is some kind of magical being sent to show me my Path. I am excited as I wait for him, feeling the touch of Nature, her dappled sunlight on my arm, her soft breeze caressing my face. The Being crashes through the underbrush and I see that he is not a pixie or an elf, but a dwarf. Frightening, ugly. He wears Lederhosen like one of Snow White’s Seven Dwarves and leers at me. Suddenly, I see his,” I pause, “his penis. It’s…it’s huge and hard and I can almost feel it inside of me.”

I don’t look at John, but I can feel his eyes on me. I smile to myself and think about Following My Bliss.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: