I had settled back in very well, so the next thing to do would be to become the painter that I had always dreamed about. I had studied hard and now I was full of confidence that I could actually become one the greats that I had learned about and admired in my life.
It wouldn’t be easy and I knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of money either. However, this did not stop me at all and I started to look and find a little place or a room where I could paint from.
Francine’s family had offered me financial help and a room to stay, but I felt that I needed to stand on my own two feet and support my child. They had been very good over the years and I wanted to make them and my son proud of me.
I walked around the town and asking around when someone suggested the shop across the way. It was owned by a very nice gentleman and above the shop, he had a few rooms that he would rent out to people. I went inside and explained what I was looking for and what I would need the room for. We had a long chat about art and world in general and then finally he showed me a small room. He told me that I could paint from here and that If I needed any help in selling my paintings that he would be happy to help. I took him up on his offer and would bring over some of my things later in the afternoon and would bring along my son also so that we could spend some time together.
Later that day I returned and little Christophe helped carry some of my paint brushes for me. We organised the room so that I had one side for painting and then the other was a seating area and possible bedroom. I say bedroom, but it would be more like a spot to get my head down. I am very particular when I paint and if I don’t like what I have painted I will paint over it and start again. I lose track of time and then wake up in a chair as I have sat down for a few seconds, but the seconds have turned into hours as I have exhausted myself.
Finally, we were finished and after signing for the keys and giving the owner some money as a deposit, we went for a walk to the park. As I walked along, I heard the words “Edith”, It was repeated three times to me. I don’t where it came from as I hadn’t been thinking about her as I was too busy. I tried to ignore it, but it happened again. The same name and it was repeated three times. My grandmother often spoke about hearing voices, but I just put it down to her being on her own so much. She said it was a gift and that what she was hearing was messages from Angels and also people that had passed over. If this was the case who and why were they talking about Edith. Then the penny dropped and there she was. Standing looking at me. This beautiful woman who I thought I would never see again is right in front of me.
We talked a little and she spoke to Christophe. She had a tender and gentle voice when she spoke to him and her smile was a smile that just made you feel all warm and cosy. Both of us were a little tongue-tied, I don’t know whether that was because we didn’t know each other or perhaps we liked each other and were very physically attracted to each other.
Edith told me where she was staying and that she was in the local hospital. I admired her for that. She had come a long way to be here and knew nobody. At least when I was in England I had Henry, but Edith had nobody. I did hope that she would be okay.
Christophe and I then headed off as I was busy and had lots of work to do. I didn’t say anything about the voices, as it is not something you want to share. I did remember back in England what the lady had said to me about having a gift, she said that I could hear people that had passed over. I was unsure how Edith fitted into this as she was very much alive.
I went to the park and we played and ran around for a few hours. Then on the way back, I saw a poster stuck on a wall. It was an art exhibition that was being held in the town hall and new artists were invited to show there work. There was also a prize for the best picture. This could be the opportunity that I have been waiting for to show off my work. The details stated that you had to show a portrait of someone whose life or their work has touched yours.
I couldn’t think who I would paint at the moment, but there was no rush as it was in a few months and I had plenty of time. Christophe and I returned to the shop with new supplies and the owner kindly gave me a few pieces that would make it a bit more homely. I would be staying with Christophe, but had this place as a second home when I needed it.
After about three weeks word was travelling about my work and a request came in. I had to provide a portrait of a soldier. The soldier was being promoted to the role of Sergeant and as a gift to him, they wanted a painting. A few photographs of him were left along with the colours of his uniform etc. This took me back to Queens Park in Loughborough when the soldiers were leaving and I created a picture of them. It seems hard to believe that the soldiers are all here now. I spoke to the owner of the shop and asked about it. He told me I had come on the recommendation from a soldier who sat for you. He said that he remembered you and that you were very good. There is an invitation for you also to attend the ball and to bring along the portrait. I was very excited about this, that someone had given me so much praise to the point that they suggested me to paint the picture.
My life as a painter was now becoming true and I embraced it.