The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 62

On The Breakwater

Peggy had her easel set up and painting the lighthouse.
Rich stood in sort of a limbo between fear and indignation, sadness and anger. He walked along the breakwater to where she and the easel were. She turned as if she sensed he was approaching.
“Hello, Rich,” Peggy said. “What brings you out here?”
Rich forced an uncomfortable smile. “I saw your car.”
“What do you think?” Peggy said gesturing to the painting.
“It’s a lighthouse,” Rich said.
“I know, but it has little artistic appeal, but plenty of local appeal. It will sell,” Peggy said. “Sometimes you have to paint things with little artistic value, but only designed to sell. Sort of like those street artist who do quick sketches of people for a couple dollars.” She continued to dab the canvass.
“I have your moonlight painting figured out,” Rich said.
“Why so glum?” Peggy asked still dabbing. “You look as though you lost your best friend.”
“I sort of did,” Rich said.
“How so?” Peggy said.
“The painting,” Rich said.
She stopped dabbing and moved closer. “Go on,” Peggy urged with a look and tone of suspicion.
“In your painting there are two lights in the trees across the bay, but they’re not lights,” Rich said. “They’re eyes - sad eyes.”
“Whose eyes are they?” Peggy asked.
“Dennis’s,” Rich said.
“How did you find out?” Peggy said with a slight quiver of her chin. “Is it the chatter of the newsroom or some bar talk?”
“Neither,” Rich said. “I sailed out on the bay last week. I was on the other side of the island.”
“Did you get a good show, you pervert?” Peggy said indignantly.
“Don’t worry I spared you and myself the vulgarity and left before the real show started,” Rich said and looked toward the bay. “I don’t want to see that. What I saw was enough to make me sad and ill for both of you. It‘s a terrible thing to carry that with you. You two are my friends.”
“I’m sorry for lashing out,” Peggy said. “After all, you did nothing wrong.”
“I wished I had never gone out there that night,” Rich said.
“Why did you?” Peggy said.
“I was hoping to find you alone to put my suspicion to rest, but half way out I was determined not to find you,” Rich said. “Friendships look for others’ feelings.”
“Are you going to tell Dennis?” Peggy asked.
“No,” Rich said.
“Then why are you telling me? Is this supposed to make me stop seeing that man?” Peggy said.
“I won’t be coming by anymore.” Rich said. “If you can live the lie that’s ok, but I can’t. It will be gradual. I’ll just find some folks my age and with your help you can help Dennis to appreciate that I really need friends my own age. Does that sound fair?”
“More than fair,” Peggy said. “But you are still a friend.”
“Peggy,” Rich said and grasped her hand. “So are you.”
“How did you know?” Peggy said.
“It was your painting,” Rich said. “It was romantic and you never went there with Dennis.”
A tear rolled from her eye.
“There’s one more thing,” Rich said.
“What’s that?” Peggy said.
“It’s an empty lonely loveless painting,” Rcih said. “You should destroy it. It will only leave who ever buys it sad and lonely.”
Rich walked a few steps and turned to look at Peggy again. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but it was like a tragic accident, he had to look. Rich expected her to be looking out over the bay contemplating the effects of her affair. Perhaps Rich wanted to see a spark of remorse. She gracefully stroked and dabbed colors on the canvass. Her hair waved loosely in the bay breeze. There must have been a thousand thoughts running through her mind either that or they were being colored over just as easily as she covered the canvas with an image designed to do nothing more than sell.
Rich jumped in his Jeep and drove to Belfast. He wanted to be someplace where nobody knew him. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, nor did he want to be alone; caught once again in some sort of limbo.
He recalled Dennis saying once, “When I go blank I just start writing. At least I’m moving ahead. You can’t get suspended in anything. You got to keep moving. Suddenly after meandering for a while I find myself back into the midst of my story. It‘s a beautiful thing. It‘s a good way to live your life. If you got no place to go, meander for a while.”
So Rich did.