Henry puttered around noisily in the kitchen. “Tea…where is the tea?” he muttered while rummaging through each cabinet and drawer. “Damn Helen! Why couldn’t you leave well enough alone. Always prying where you’re not welcome!”
In the parlor, Helen scanned the perimeter of the room. The plant stand near the window caught her eye. Whatever once lived in this dry pot of soil was now a sad, brittle bunch of leafless stalks. It reminded her of the wheat fields of her youth, golden and ready for harvest. But this poor plant was clearly dead. “Well, this is fitting.” She huffed.
Henry nearly dropped the tea tray when he entered the room and saw Helen standing near the window. She was in that spot. Gathering his wits he asked, “What were you saying Helen?”
“Oh, there you are Henry. I was saying… that it is fitting that you have dead plants in the parlor. It goes with the rest of the decor.”
“I’ve been meaning to do something with that. I hope you like your tea black. I’m fresh out of cream.”
“It’ll do.” Helen swept dust off the sofa before taking a seat. “Sit Henry.”
Reluctantly, Henry plopped into an armchair across from Helen, releasing a cloud of dust that caused him to cough. “I wish you had called before coming.”
Helen burst into a boisterous cackle, “Oh Henry! That is rich! I have tried to call you, and I’ve written. I am here, Henry, because you have ignored every attempt I’ve made to contact you! Quite frankly, we’re all worried about you.”
“Who’s we? Well it doesn’t matter. You can tell everyone I’m fine.”
“Enough Henry!” Helen’s voice shifted. “You are not fine! And I am not leaving until I am sure you are fine.”
Henry slouched in his chair, “Suit yourself.” Secretly a part of him was relieved. Though he was loath to admit it, seeing her there, in the light of day covered in dust, proved she was right.
A note about the painting by Vincent Van Gogh:
The Van Gogh Museum’s Wheat Field with Crows was made in July 1890, in the last weeks of Van Gogh’s life, many have claimed it was his last work. Others have claimed Tree Roots was his last painting. Wheat Field with Crows, made on an elongated canvas, depicts a dramatic cloudy sky filled with crows over a wheat field. The wind-swept wheat field fills two thirds of the canvas. An empty path pulls the audience into the painting. Of making the painting Van Gogh wrote that he had made a point of expressing sadness, later adding “extreme loneliness” (de la solitude extrême), but also says he believes the canvases show what he considers healthy and fortifying, the storm and crows powerfully offset by the restorative nature of the countryside.