In the Absence of Memory

Amadeo Modigliani. Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hébuterne, 1918. 101x66cm (40x26in.) Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA.

It was her mother, just as she had thought, her mother in the same room with her--not seeing her with those solid aqua eyes. Once she had wanted eyes like those--little window shades she could draw down when she didn't want anyone to see in. Behind them she could still be six or seven and not make herself sick wanting to know her father and mother, or even just ten and not go crazy wanting to go to Paris, to walk where they walked, and make up memories. A swelling in her throat ached.