I woke up several times during the night, although on each occasion I returned to a deep sleep almost immediately. No dreams I could later remember. No obsessive thoughts invading me. Only a sense of floating in the middle of the room and an undetermined uneasiness, all mixed with a pleasant smell of pine trees.
As my moments of awakening started to be illuminated by the morning light, it took me longer and longer to fall asleep again, and I had more time to gaze at the dead fireplace, the cherubs in the painting hanging over it, and the spots on the wall where the plaster had fallen to reveal an archipelago of elongated shapes.
At some point I gave up on sleeping. I put on the same clothes I had worn the day before and went to the window.
My mind was clearer than on the previous day, more aware about everything, it seemed. But it wasn’t my typical sense of self. How could it be, though? I was misplaced. I was in a place that I recognized and at the same time was alien to me. And what was my purpose here, my role? Such a pity to be in possession of a clear mind without a purpose.
The window was high enough that I was only able to see the tops of trees and the sky. A clean and intense blue accentuated by well defined, easy to paint clouds. And the very deep green of old pine trees. Also easy to paint.
In fact, come to think of it, everything is so easy to paint. Especially when the image is devoid of any interesting features. It’s like brushing a horse, it’s simply a question of time and perseverance. One move, then another, and so on. But it’s so pointless painting a scene devoid of any interest or purpose. Brushing a horse at least accomplishes something.
As in many other occasions I considered that maybe I should forget about the whole business of painting for a while. Give a rest to the musing of my artistic attempts and doubts. And maybe during two or three days I shouldn’t paint anything at all, not even a straight line. It wouldn’t only be a way of not getting frustrated, it might also be a cleansing experience that could take me to new grounds. As suffering a cold, I just had to be patient and wait for a few days. See who I was after those days and what I would be able to create. Maybe in a couple of days I’d approach a bare surface, I’d soak the brushes in what I’d consider the most appropriate substance, and I’d start to stain and to build up in a way that I’d consider to be the most meaningful while being drenched by conviction on myself. Maybe.
But nothing else about painting then. Finito, for now.
I moved away from the window and there wasn’t anything in the room inducing me to stay there, so I decided to go downstairs and find something to do somewhere else. Not a burial, it would seem. I really thought before leaving Barcelona that that would be the focal point of my visit here. Burial, blackness, rituals. That’s the only reason I brought the black jacket I never wear. But without bodies, without official deaths, you obviously cannot have a burial. Although who knew what’s what around here? Not me. Talking to some people here you got the impression that my parents weren’t dead at all, that at any point they could walk into the house, retire to the library and ring the bell, and my father would request a brandy and an early snack, and my mother a whisky and soda.