He was silent for a minute and then moved to face me. I looked around him. I couldn’t take my eyes off the painting and his eyes were on me.
“Do you recognize her?” he asked, but I think he understood my answer from my expression.
I nodded, still not looking away from the painting. “This was my lowest moment. There was no information. They hadn’t found their bodies. It wouldn’t be for days until I discovered my entire family was lost.” I glanced at him for a moment and then back to the painting. The room whirled, and I clutched his arm for support.
“How did you capture my heart without even knowing me? Everything is here on this canvas. I was… devastated.” I touched my chest, and a tear escaped with more threatening to fall. His eyes bored into me. I stared at the painting—me from five years ago.
“I didn’t lose anyone during that disaster but myself. Life was… it wasn’t right. I wasn’t right. I thought about this woman in the paper for three years. The way she held the teddy bear, her… your desperation. I didn’t want to work in buying and selling real estate anymore. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but not that. I quit when I came back to DC, worked on getting my leg healthy, and I painted. I’m so much happier than before the earthquake.”
That phrase took me away from the painting and I examined him as if he were a witness on a trial.
“The earthquake had an adverse effect on me.” I stared back at the painting. He was silent, and I regretted saying that to Jordan. He didn’t deserve my bitterness. He didn’t cause the earthquake.
“I’m sorry, Jordan. That was uncalled for.”
“It’s okay, Katie. This must be a surprise for you. It is for me.”
“Yeah, it’s strange to discover myself in another one of your pictures.” My lips turned upward. “I like this one very much.”
“Do you want it?” he asked in earnest. “I think it was sold, but we can get it back.”
“No, I’m glad I saw it. It’s weird. I understand that memory now. That’s why I pushed it down. I lost so much. You captured it perfectly. Thank you.” I said.
I stared at the painting a bit more. Then I realized that no one else was here.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize it was time to go.”
“I think the staff is still here finishing up the sales. Let me take you back to the hotel.”