She was lost in holding the painting with its frame this way and that and couldn’t stop admiring it. While she was busy at it, he paid cash to the owner of the shop, “108 Fine Art”. They were in the deserted alley of the old town area. It was famous for shops that sold antiques. He was puzzled as to what was so great about the picture that she couldn’t stop gazing at it. She appeared hypnotized by it.
‘United by the differences’ he thought as he was a chartered accountant and she an artist.
Putting an arm around her shoulders, he said, “What’s so exciting about this picture that you compelled me to buy? It’s such a dark, godforsaken, lonely one. One with an eerie silence”
“It’s an inviting silence. I can hear the whispering sound of silence in conversation with the long and dark shadows of the trees. Golden rays seeping from the street lights compliment the pitch darkness of the night. It has a rustic charm”, she explained in a trance.
He tried to look into the picture with this connotation.
“To me its nothing but a deserted alley on a gloomy no moon night”, he stated.
“How I wish I could walk down this alley”, she expressed her desire, skirting his unfavorable remarks.
Once home, she made him hang it in the bedroom, right in-front of their bed. Once placed securely on the wall, he joined her on the edge of the bed where she sat in rapt attention, as if listening to the unspoken words from the painting. While she was gazing at it without blinking her eyes, he was perplexed to see her lost.
With a sudden thrust, she got up and started walking towards the painting.
“It’s not going to look any better from up close”, he said.
She walked ahead determined as his words fell on her deaf ears. Once upfront, she touched the painting with her right hand. The light in the bedroom flickered, so did the lights in the paintings. Or that’s what he felt. A strong gust of wind rushed through the open window of the bedroom, fluttering the curtains. Curtains danced up and down in an orchestrated rhythm. The gust also made the leaves lying on the street in the painting, rustle. Her touch made a deep dark impression into the picture. It started expanding, gradually encompassing the entire frame of the picture. Now, her hand was getting immersed into the black hole, formed on the painting. She stepped ahead, slowly as if with a mystic pull that was fetching her closer to it.
He screamed, but his voice was heard only in his mind and not a single sound could escape his mouth. He dashed towards her as he witnessed her slowly vanishing into the painting. The dust from the deserted street in the painting blinded his eyes. The gust now blowing in full steam, made him turn his face away.
He forced open his eyes. The lights had dramatically stopped flickering. There was no sign of wind nor the dust. As if nothing has disturbed the stillness of the painting or the tranquility of the bedroom. But…
…She was nowhere to be seen.
He rushed to the painting in shock and agony. He touched it frantically but it had no trace of turbulence. Dismounting it, he checked it from behind. It was perfectly sealed. Printed words at the bottom right corner caught his attention.
It read, “Mystique Lane, 108 Fine Art” in a fine print.
He flipped it over again and noticed the board “108 Fine Arts” in the picture, above one shop in the right lane, right behind the tree!