Or perhaps Peep Summer?
For our very first 2017 Pinkorama, Randy brings us a scene from That Summer. It’s the summer of 2009, and Julia, jobless thanks to the recession, has just flown out to London to inspect the house she unexpectedly inherited from a great-aunt she can’t remember. The house holds many surprises for Julia… including the portrait of a lady.
(Note the corresponding picture of a gentleman on the other wall….)
Our jet-lagged Julia Peep in her white shirt examines the painting.
And look! There’s Julia’s cousin, Natalie, popping through the door to see what Julia’s up to.
Don’t you love the fireplace and those elegant blue drapes?
Here’s the text of the scene:
The switch was one of the push kinds. Julia pressed down on it. Blinking in the sudden light from the crystal chandelier, she found herself face to face with a woman on the wall.
For a second, the dark hair, the pale skin, the flowers made her think of her mother, of that faded image in an old snapshot.
But there was nothing faded about this picture. Even dimmed with dust and neglect, there was a vibrancy about the painted image that drew the eye like a magnet. It shouldn’t have. There was nothing particularly exotic about it, just a woman sitting in a garden, trees flowering all around her, roses twining as if reaching for her hand, the sun catching the gold lettering on the book that lay beside her, abandoned on the bench.
The woman’s clothes made Julia think of the cover of her high school volume of Jane Eyre, a tight-waisted dress in a deep, dark blue, with a modest white collar and cuffs. Her dark hair was uncovered, parted in the middle, pulled down smoothly to cover her ears, then looped and knotted in the back. Just another society portrait.
Except for her face. She was looking up, lips parted as though about to say something. The serenity of her hair and gown was belied by the turmoil in her face. She looked, realized Julia, as lost as Julia felt. The contrast between the woman’s restrained clothing, her carefully arranged hair, and the wildness in her eyes struck a deep and powerful cord with her. Julia felt a deep kinship with this unknown woman, whoever she might be, with the confusion and frustration all bottled into that prim exterior.
Whoever the artist was, he was pretty darn talented to have conveyed all that, just in the tilt of a head, the slightly parted lips, the luster of the eyes. Julia took a step forward, feeling as if, if she only got close enough, those lips might whisper secrets to her. She could practically hear the buzz of expectancy in the air around her. Even the dust motes seemed to have paused to listen.
A door opened on the other side of the room, and the mood shattered.
“There you are!” It was Nat, slightly breathless. “I just went to make sure I’d closed the back door. Hideous room, isn’t this? It smells like someone died.”
Thanks so much, Randy, for bringing this scene so vividly (peepfully?) to life!