It was a day just like any other day, as the worst days of our lives so often are.
Lucinda and I were on an adventure. We’d traveled to Portland, Maine, to watch a movie about the death of Vincent Van Gogh. The movie was called “Loving Vincent” and it was the first movie in the world to be painted. Meaning that 100 artists animated an entire movie painted in the style of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork.
The weather was blustery, and bitterly cold. Wind ransacked the alleys and set the flags trembling on their poles.
Despite the weather, it seemed a shame to pass up the opportunity to explore. Especially since the light was so dramatic that day.
As we walked down Congress street the wind chilled my face, making my skin feel chapped and brittle. It was a relief to duck into the garden of the Wadsworth-Longfellow house. There, sheltered from the wind, Lucinda posed for some photographs.
Further down the road, we stopped again, to investigate a sign for the Little Ghost Thrift Store. To get to the shop, we had to walk through a mostly vacant mall. Silence shattered with each footstep. The sound of the door opening was like a crack of thunder.
Inside, we found a charming little thrift store filled with vintage fashion from every decade. The storekeeper told me that the building was being sold, and that’s why there were so many empty storefronts.
After we’d looked around and warmed ourselves we went back out into the street. I wanted to take some photos in the square, but the wind was too strong for Lucinda to stand.
We worked our way back up Congress Street toward the Portland Museum of Art, where the movie would be shown. I’d seen some interesting store fronts that might be worth photographing and the time before the movie was getting shorter.
A mural on the wall of a side-street caught my eye. It was a simple abstract, but it seemed worth noticing, especially since the light further down the street was so drastic. My plan was to have Lucinda pose in front of the mural, then move down to explore the light and shadow on the wall.
The wind gusted down the alley. Lucinda stood for the mural pictures. They didn’t come out as well as I wanted them to. My angles were off because I was cold and bundled up.
We moved further down. Lucinda swayed. The wind was strong. I worried that she might fall, but surely we were protected here, and I would catch her if she fell.
I set up the next shot. The wind gusted. Lucinda toppled sideways. I lunged to catch her, but it was too late. I’d already heard the dull crack of her face hitting the sidewalk.
I knew she was broken. I knew it before I picked her up.
“Oh, no!” I said. “Oh no.”
I picked her up. A piece of her face, about half the size of the palm of my hand, stand behind on the pavement. I snatched it up in my other hand.
I couldn’t look at her, couldn’t bear the dark hole where her left eye had once been. I felt nauseous. I’d let her fall. I was careless and I let her fall.
I fled the scene, Lucinda clutched against my chest.
I must have looked like a mad woman, hurrying through the streets of Portland, crying, carrying a broken doll.
I didn’t care. Lucinda was broken. And it was all my fault.
To be continued….