For as long as I can remember, it has hung on that wall. There is one memory where the wall above the brown couch was empty, but that was just because it had fallen down and that was just for a few hours. It's been there a very long time, I think.
It is a painting much longer than it is wide that hangs on a wall in the family room in my house. It is of a city, in a southern European pseudo-Mediterranean style, in the evening. The moon is fresh out, neither crescent nor full. There are couples, painted in a stylistic and abstract fashion, enjoying evening coffee or wine at bistro tables on one side of the image. There are small windows on a house on the other side illuminated by a yellowish light. There is a dog in the middle howling at the moon, pleasantly alone.
There are even some boats.
It is a wonderfully romantic image. It does not convey the loving kind of romance we are all familiar with in our art. It is not the romance of nature necessarily. It is the romance of just being. I forget about that appeal too often. I was raised in a country that assigns value and takes it away as if their suppositions are correct due, only, to the holier-than-thou attitude with which they're delivered. Don't believe me? Watch a Senate meeting.
But, as is the general rule, art gives me a little bit of hope. I don't know who painted the moonlit evening that I've grown up glancing at a hundred times a day, but someone had to have done it. So, somebody intrinsically understands, is out there selling, this romance of being, existing in a moment and nowhere else. When I was younger, I always used to wonder, what would happen after? When the dog stopped howling and snuck off to sleep under some bridge? When the couples finally got cold, paid their bills, left for home? When the lights went off in the house that overlooks the ocean? When the sun came up and the boats left the marina?
And it is precisely because I do not know these things that I will look at that painting for years and years longer than it probably deserves. It is a moment in time that will never happen again, that probably never happened. Once upon an evening things were perfect for just a moment.
I don't know what all of this means. I'm not sure if my subconscience is telling me to embrace the romance of being, to cease judging flowers by their scent and petal count, and rather just enjoy the fact that they grow. To remember that people may not be "successful," but that, in no way, means they are not successful.
Maybe I just like paintings.
Either way, I still have no idea what happens to the dog or whether or not the couples stay together tomorrow and the day after that. But I know that it was beautiful right then, and that - surely! - is enough.
May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.