Man Leaving

by Alice K. Boatwright

It is winter in a village in the Bavarian Alps. In a small house set just outside the village, a woman works at a table, painting on a sheet of glass. Snow beats against the window as she works, and, in the fireplace, a log settles. There are no other sounds. She works swiftly, creating a scene with black strokes, then filling in colors: purple, blues, greens, a rich brown. From time to time she cleans her brush and wipes it on a rag. The smell of turpentine makes her think of him.

She pauses to look out the window. Already the footsteps leading away from her door have filled with snow. The damp spot on the floor where his cape dripped is dry.

When she is finished, she stretches, stands up, and goes again to the window. It is dusk. Lamplight shines from the windows in the village. She lights her own lamp. The first day has passed. She picks up the painting and looks at it. Her colors glow through the glass.

For Gabriele Munter

The painting that inspired this story is the author's oil-on-canvas version of a painting by the German artist, Gabriele Munter (1877-1962). The original was painted in the German folk art tradition of reverse painting on glass. As a member of the Blue Rider group, Munter earned her reputation as one of the pioneering artists of the 20th century. She was Wassily Kandinsky's companion from 1903 to 1915.

Copyright © 1998
Path of Least Resistance