There is always this tension in a man’s mind between Mother Earth and Queen Victoria, neither one the virgin or the whore. This woman of Avery’s, for instance, is painted in a dangerous shade of red-blood and carrots mixed upon his palette. Her profile is drawn at angles, one line hard against another. More in conflict with the face than designing it. Then her hair appears to have been cut by the sharpest scissors held in two straight lines by the painter’s brush or by this iron matron’s long-suffering maid.
We think we know her completely and would certainly avoid visiting her when we are home on holiday. The world outside her open windows is full of curves. The soft blue sail is flush with breeze. The hills fold like waves and invite us into spring. We are flying out of her room. “It was nice seeing you.” “Yes, we’ll come again.” “No, we don’t know when.”
We turn to the door and just catch sight of a similarity between the curve of the hills and the deep wave on the tops of Auntie’s hair–a clue. We must stop. Know her better than her time-perfected costume. She will be gone soon. If we leave now we will never have known her as a girl.