After the Funeral

About fifteen years ago I was working a summer job at a produce market, in the orchard behind my house. One blistering hot day an old man came into the store and picked out a single Ontario peach for himself. He wore a heavy grey suit and looked as though he’d never smiled in his life, even though outside the sun was shining high in a cheerfully cloudless blue sky. The peaches, in season, were perfectly delicious, like biting into a glass of juice. When he solemnly approached the counter to pay for his piece of fruit, he said this to me:

“I just came from burying my wife.”

Then he laid a few coins upon the counter and left.

I’ve always wondered what he did after leaving that day. Sit at home alone? Mourn in silence? Did he even taste the peach he’d just bought and, if so, how? His wife’s funeral was over, and life went on. I ached for him, this complete stranger. Fifteen years later I still remember our brief encounter and feel that same dull ache, even though he too has probably long since passed on. For some reason I drew this yesterday, a quick pastel depiction of the man from my memory. It may not be proportionately pleasing, as I didn’t have a reference to go upon, but here it is. After the Funeral. Next time I’ll liven things up a little more!


Pastel, 9″ x 12″, 2015

Do not use my art without permission. See disclaimer.


3 thoughts on “After the Funeral

  1. Amazing portrait Pauline – I can sense his loss and pain etched in his face. The proportions don’t much matter in my view, as the spirit of the day and heavy loss loomed in the space that you so brilliantly captured.


  2. Wow. What a face. You have really captured his pain. Isn’t it funny how someone who breezes in and out of our life for a moment can have such a profound effect on us? Wonderful work in your portrait. And I agree with Mary, the proportions don’t matter much to me either. You have captured his essence from your ability to feel his pain. ~Rita


  3. Pingback: Orchard Light / Smiling Grams | On the Draw

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