Let Me Paint You a Picture

It was a quiet Monday morning. I was at the office early. The sun broke over the horizon that we call a parking lot, casting an orange hue on otherwise grey buildings. For the next few minutes, an industrial park became a Turner landscape. The Small Office from the Porch of Madonna della Salute.

I enjoy the early morning because it is lighter than the rest of the day, because the press of humankind and its obligations have not yet made their presence known. It is not even that the energy is latent. There is no energy required of me at all. Except to sip my Gevalia dark roast, medium bodied, coffeehouse quality blend with just a hint of fruit.

And then Whiny Baby appeared at my door.

She apologized for coming unannounced but explained – in a soft voice so as not to disturb the morning calm – that she had something she wanted to tell me so I’d hear it from her first. Well, that was intriguing enough, so I showed her in and asked her to sit on this comfortable leather chair I keep for just such occasions.

She dove right in. “I am seeing someone in the company”, she said.

“Oh?” I replied, truly surprised at where this was now going.

“Yes, and I didn’t want you to hear rumors and wonder.” She paused, took a deep breath and then, with great effort and greater relief, blurted it out. “It’s Andrew!”

“Andrew?” I looked at her quizzically.

Andrew Green… in Accounting!” she said almost proudly.

“What about Andrew Green… in Accounting”? I asked obtusely. Green is an older man, thin, slightly balding, a perfect fit for General Ledger’s White Shirt Brigade. Whiny Baby is in her early 40s, quite attractive and, while not the life of the party, not dead yet either. This pairing would be a case of apples and boomerangs.

“You know.” Whiny Baby exclaimed. “He’s who I’m seeing!”

“Oh?” I replied, truly surprised at where this was now going.

It was still not computing. There was absolutely no connection between Andrew Green and Whiny Baby that I could see. They were on different floors, in different time zones, perhaps from different planets.

I remember when Whiny Baby first opened up to me about her marriage. She and her husband had not communicated in any meaningful way for years. They shared space and time, most of the time, but little else. In the end, their marriage ended not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but in dreadful silence. There was nothing left to say that was already left unsaid before. Ashes to ashes.

“So who ARE you seeing?” I asked, getting back in the moment.

“Andrew!” she replied again, without hesitation.

“What about Andrew?”

We went on this way for a while, Whiny Baby becoming increasingly flustered and me still out in left field.

And then… suddenly… I got it. She was serious.

And then… suddenly… another painting appeared to me. The Scream, by Edvard Munch. In his diary, Munch wrote: “I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream.”

Ditto that.

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