The Story of the Painting



I walked into the tiny, incense filled shop as I had for years. Nestled in the second floor of a brownstone on Newbury Street, it had been the first shop I had ever visited when I moved to Boston four years prior. It was owned by two middle aged men with the softest, gentlest voices I had ever heard. The tiny, stuffy room was filled to the rafters with broken religious statues, gargolyes, stones, and various other strange and, at least to me, wonderful things.


But today was different. Today, there were heaps and heaps of strange, wonderful paintings littering the floor. They were all of ghostly figures, faces, the grainy, watery colors mounted on scraps of wood, and covered in a thick layer of wax. K-Bat and I dove at the stacks, picking through the paintings and swooning only as two 21 year old goth girls can.

"Where did they COME from?" We asked breathlessly. One of the owners smiled, and told us the story.

"About a year ago, a punk band from Scotland came into the shop, and spent hours picking around, as people do. I chatted with the singer, Duncan, and he raved about how much he loved the shop. They left, and invited me to their show that night.

I went, and on the way, a strange feeling came over me that Duncan needed money, needed it desperately, but would never ask anyone. I couldn't shake the feeling for anything. This was a man I had never met, never seen before in my life. But I went to the ATM and took 200 dollars out of my account. I went to the show, I slipped him the money, and I left. Neither of us ever said a word.

Six months later, a crate appeared at the store. It was filled with these paintings. A note came with them, from Duncan. He wrote that ever since he had visited the shop, he had been having dreams of all the spirits who live here. He couldn't get them out of his mind, so he began painting them. He thanked me for the money I had given him, and told me that people would look through the paintings until they found "their painting." I should charge them what they could afford, and keep the money for the shop as thanks for my blind kindness that night."

He gestured to the stack, and said "You'll find your painting. Just keep looking."

And that's when I saw her.

She was looking at me.

I stammered that I only had 30 dollars, that surely it was worth so much more than that. The man shrugged, smiled, and said "It's your painting." I handed him the money, and left with my painting.

I have never named her. I figure if she has a name, she'll tell me. But even though I have moved countless times since I found her, I always keep her with me, watching over my bed. Wherever I go, she goes. No matter what.


Her face changes all the time. Whether it's a trick of the light, or the way the paint interacts with the wax, or something else, I don't know. But she is my prize possession. And this is her story.


The Story of the Painting — 9 Comments

  1. That is so cool! And you’re right, her face does change! It looks like the direction her face is turned changes. And what an awesome story. I’m sure most people don’t have any art with that much story and meaning behind it. Did your friend find her painting?

  2. I forgot to add that she HATES having her picture taken. They’re always blurry and if there is light in the room, there’s a terrible glare no matter what I do. These pics aren’t great, but out of 25 tries, they’re the best I could get.

  3. Dude, this story, seriously, I cannot stand it. It’s so freaking amazing. I think you should write it as a short story – for real.

  4. Beautiful!! I have a 35 year old needlepoint picture of a Spanish dancer that my grandma(Booboo)taught me to needlepoint on.We found it in her closet when she passed away and my sister spent over 250.00 having it matted and framed as a suprise for me.If you look really close you can see the loose stiches,the rows that were torn out and redone etc…It takes me back to Booboos coffee smelling ,70s Harvest Gold and Avocado Green kitchen and the hours we spent there while she taught a all thumbs 10 year old how to make something pretty and showed me her love.If my house ever catches on fire its what i am grabbing

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