After my wife passed away six months ago, I tried to keep myself busy. But somehow I just couldn't forget about her. I couldn’t move on.
I went on a business trip to Philadelphia. My wife loved art but I didn't, so I never went to a museum with her before. This time I decided to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, one of the places she always mentioned that she wanted to go with me.
I wandered around the museum, eventually making my way to a rounded square with exhibits from many famous painters: Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne..., well, I must admit I didn't know much about them and actually, I wasn't interested at all. When I was about to leave, I saw a Renoir painting of a knitting woman. She looked exactly like my wife. I was stunned. I stood in front of it and stared at her all afternoon.
After I went back home, I couldn't get rid of that painting. I searched for photos of it online, bought art books and posters of it. But none of them gave me the feeling like that original piece. Even my wife's own photos didn't. I felt there was something inside that painting. I felt there was a soul.
I quit my job in California, found a part-time work and moved to Philadelphia. I went to the museum every weekend, doing nothing but staring at that painting, at her.
One time when I was there as usual, I heard a baby crying. She was about a year old, being held by an old lady. I surprisingly found that every time she passed by this Renoir painting she burst out crying, but when they walked away she stopped. Even that black, twisting Picasso painting of a woman's head didn't scare her. I had heard that babies' souls were closest to the world before birth and after death. I couldn't help myself and walked to the baby, "you see something?" I asked. The baby nodded, with tears on her face.
I was fully convinced. I joined the membership and went to the museum more frequently. I felt I was with my wife, at her favorite place. I forgot how many days I had abandoned myself to the place and to the painting.
Until one day, when I was leaving for the restroom, I glanced over at a person. A lady about my age, staring at another Renoir's painting of a boy. I moved closer to her, and found the boy looked quite like her. They had the same eyes and same bitter smile.
I walked to her, "you see something?" I asked. She turned to me, a little surprised, then she nodded.
After so long, this was the first time she and I really "saw" a person, again.
We moved to New Mexico, bought a cottage, and lived together. There was only one painting in our house: a landscape by Georgia O'Keeffe.