Many years ago I was chatting to my mum and dad who were sat on the couch in the front room. They were talking about buying a new couch. I said something like, “The one you’ve got will last another 10 years,” and my dad said, “Ohh...its only money...we’ll be dead in ten years. We’re spending it.”
I remember these things as anything to do with my folks not being here sticks in my brain like a cannon ball. He was partly right as my mum only lived for a few more years. Afterwards my dad spent thousands taking the family on a cruise in the Carribean (my mum wouldn’t have liked it - she didn’t care much for anything foreign: food, time zones, languages, clothes.)
I suppose cruising around Bahaman islands unshackled by worries prompts the likelihood of romance actions. I remember one fleetingly: one evening, exploring the decks dark corners I walked up some stairs and passed a man was lifting up a woman. I maintained my speed, pretended I hadn’t noticed. This stuck in my mind along with other things: putting on a suit I’d bought blindly to find the jacket had been made for Pavarotti (see photo), watching a chubby man eyeing up nubile flesh by the pool (see photo), wondering if a man on sun-lounger was sleeping or had died (see photo), looking at the shape of my dad’s plums cupped in a pair of shorts thinking, “Blimey I came from the those nuts” (definitely no photo.)
So here is the couple I saw on the cruise ship. Faces are always difficult so I was glad they’re hidden in the shade. While painting it I wondered if the couple on the cruise are still together. I saw them at breakfast one morning but their body language seemed cooler. Perhaps they had returned to their cabin the night I had seen them and the man had not popped the big question but popped out a trump so forceful it blasted a mirror off the wall.
I filled in the main parts of the painting then got stuck. I transported the canvas between my weekend house and home while waiting for an inspirational push that never arrived. Willpower made me finish it. I remember reading a book about The Beatles and John was effective at creating new songs but often gave up two-thirds of the way through. It was Paul who persevered and made the song a finished product. Anyone can start something can’t they? So I resolved to finish the painting. Looking at the dates of the photos it was a year from the day I started to the day I signed it. Another one to put in the attic for the ghoul to gawk at.
Let there be light…
If in doubt eat some walnuts…..or an apple…