Anna whaled, “I’m doomed!” Mark rushed to her and wrapped his arms around her. “My love,” he bellowed as she fell into his embrace, giving way to unconsciousness. *** A portrait leaned against the wall, propped up on the floor, with a sliver of sunlight streaking across its base. The thin layer of dust coating the canvas was unable to hide the wonder of the work. A painting so smooth it looked like a photograph, displayed an elderly woman with long silver hair, pulled partially into a high ponytail while the rest flowed behind her ear, down her back, and cascaded over her shoulder. A thin, delicate shoulder, drooping a bit, with arms and hands folding up; one hand peeking out of its dark sleeve to rest on the dark-clothed wrist of the other hand, with fingers barely touching the base of a tired, yet elegant neck. The woman’s beauty couldn’t be diminished by the fine lines and wrinkles indicating her advanced age. As she tilts her head slightly to the side and glances at the viewer, it’s clear that she sees and searches for someone in particular. There’s a subtle crease in the center of her forehead, as her cheeks lift to reveal a wanting smile. The background depicts a blue moonrise, snow-covered trees, and a white hill. The grey shawl draped across the woman’s back and shoulders had begun to fade- to disappear into the canvas. Mark entered the room and spots the portrait on the floor and scoops it up, huffing his discontent. Pulling his handkerchief from his front pocket, he wiped away the dust as he props the painting onto one of the twin easels facing away from a large bay window. Mark sighed heavily and then pulled the cord to part the curtains and let in the light.