Designation: Meant for rent
Rooms: 1 + 3
Measurement: 100 sq meters
Where am I? What year is it? It feels that I traveled in time, everything is so different. I have no clue how I could have arrived here, cannot recall how I entered. This apartment seems to be in Amsterdam, but I am not sure - things have changed so much since I've been to this city for the last time.
Where am I? What year is it? It feels that I traveled in time, everything is so different. This is somehow a surprise. I have no clue how I could have arrived here, cannot recall how I entered. This apartment seems to be in Amsterdam, but I am not sure - things have changed so much since I've been to this city for the last time.
The first thing I notice is my precious painting, here in this nice house, instead of in Theo and Johanna's bedroom. I painted it right after the good news arrived. “We have a baby, Vincent van Gogh! We are going to name him after you”. Theo wrote to me, and my soul was rejoicing. I have a nephew! Big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky, branches reaching out beyond the picture's frame.* A sense of serenity. New life, new beginnings, new hope.
What a beautiful painting in the entrance hall! Is this one of Amsterdam's canals? Looks so realistic. Or, perhaps, is it a real photo? I've heard about these boxes - called cameras. They came into the world about fifty years ago, but I've never seen a picture by them hanging in one's house. Interesting.
I was astounded, wandering around. Soft rugs, comfortable beds, refined, gentle curtains... Who are the people that live here? Nice chairs. They have little in common with my chair from my house in Arles...
I looked at myself in the hallway mirror. I look awful. The bandage I used to apply after the ear incident is not there anymore, of course - it has been almost two years - but my face. I am so sunk. So pale.
Everything is clean and neat here. Nothing in this house resembles my wretched room in Antwerp several years ago. My staple diet then consisted only of bread, coffee, and tobacco, and I used to sleep on straw. These were tough times. I remember eating only six hot meals from the previous month of May. Even my teeth then became loose and painful...
But the news of the birth of baby Vincent strengthened me! I made an immediate decision to paint these almond blossoms to symbolize the new life.
Wait, I hear voices! “We didn't spend much on that famous Van-Gogh painting,” it's a woman... did she say 'famous'? How much did they spend on it?
“It's a simple wallpaper, obviously, but see how much difference it makes in the house!” My painting, my painting for little baby boy Vincent, is... a 'simple wallpaper'?! How could they?!
“The entire color palette is influenced by this painting!” I heard the woman explaining from my hiding place behind the white and grey striped bed. 'Color palette'? I thought. Is she also a painter? And then a man's deep voice, “Thank you, Zwia!” Is her name Zwia? I've never heard of that name. Is she German? Maybe French?
“You did an incredible job here” the man kept going, “I had no need to intervene in your work - exactly as I wanted it”. Well, he should have intervened when my picture was taken from little Vincent! I almost stepped out of my shelter to point this out, when I heard him say, “I'm already waiting for the tenants to arrive!”.
I cannot be here when these tenants arrive, whoever they are. It's too dangerous. I want to keep my other ear on my head. But what about my Almond Blossom painting? Am I ever going to see it again?
When fading away from this intriguing house in Amsterdam, I heard their voices again in my head, saying that my painting didn't cost them much. On my way back to past tense, I got one other glimpse of my Almond Blossom painting. This time it was peeking to me from a baby’s stroller padding on Amsterdam's picturesque street. Beautiful, just as I remembered it.
*Vincent Van Gogh: The Letters.