Thursday, 6 September 2007

When a witness smiles

Years and years ago, okay, decades, my father decided to frame a print of the Mona Lisa, and put her up on our living room wall. She terrified me. Especially when I had to switch off the light in one corner and then stumble my way past her to my bedroom.Thirty years later, and Lisa (we're not on a first-name basis) is back with me, the frame a bit battered, but otherwise unchanged, unwrinkled, and just as terrifying. Although as an adult, I found I can bravely out-stare her in the daytime. It's at night when her expression seems to somehow go EVIL and her eyes follow me oh so creepily.I tried covering her up at night, as I do my birds. But that entailed having to go up really close to the picture, tablecloth grasped nervously in hand. Then I tried painting a red nose on her, which actually did improve the situation. But then I got to thinking and remembering how this fear of her eyes goes way back, and it brought back feelings and with it, a kind of resentment. And now she is off the wall, and soon, I hope, out the door. And this is why.

Her eyes followed me
through the rape of my childhood.
All she did was watch.

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