The Old Woman - Original Writing Essay

The Old Woman - Original Writing Essay

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"Gladiolus and lemongrass." The old woman replied in answer to my question about what she most remembered about finding her husband dead in his study.
"I 'm sorry?" I paused in my note taking, uncertain she had heard me correctly. For an instant I thought I was witness to her initial stages of senility.
"Gladiolus and lemongrass." She turned and looked at me for the first time in a while, retrieving her stare from out the window beyond which lay her Monet-like gardens. My next thought was that she was referring to something outside, perhaps wanting to change the subject. Perhaps choosing not to return to that particular place and time. I was about to question that when she clarified for me. "That is what I most remember."
"Gladiolus and lemongrass?" What struck me so about this old woman was her childlike voice. Time had taken its unashamed toll on her physically -- she appeared to be little more than paper maché -- but her mind, and her voice with its wind chime laughter had escaped the time passage unscathed.
I was doing an article on her late husband to accompany the retrospective of his work next month at the Whitney. She had become a bit of a Garbo-esque figure since his death, and I was not certain why she had consented to an interview with me now. Not that I had any intention of inquiring.
"Yes." She went on, "It was that time of year. The gladioli was in full bloom, and the breeze through the study window picked up its scent with just a slight undertone of the lemongrass." She trilled a laugh into the sunshine that bathed her through the window. Me, it left in darkness. The sunshine, not the laughter. "I remember how delighted I was at the way it perfumed the whole room. I wished I could catch it and hol...

... middle of paper ...

...s. I think he was happy just about anywhere. He saw something special -- whether beautiful, desperate, innocent or horrific -- in just about everything."
It was strange listening to her speak of him as though she were vastly different from him, when in fact the things she said of him seemed to me to be the perfect descriptions of her. I wondered if she knew that. I wondered if she knew she was as much an artist as he was.
"Have you ever painted, yourself?"
"Me? No, I told you, he was the creative one. Although I dabbled in poetry, had a few things published in magazines."
"Really?" I was surprised. I 'd never heard anything about that.
"Mm-hmm." She sent the swing back in a gentle arc and looked at a point in the sky that somehow I couldn 't see.
"How come I don 't know any of them?"
Her eyes closed as she rocked, "I told you, he was the creative one."

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