by Bernadette LaMazza, guest blogger
The beauty of true friendship
I am blessed to have wonderful friends that, despite distance and time, are loved and have a special place in my heart. I went to high school in Argentina and two of my best friends, Esther (now living in Holland) and Larissa (now living in Kansas) chat through Skype like no time has passed. We share everything, laugh at ourselves, and support each other. We know that we will be Skyping for the next fifty or so years and that one day soon, we will see each other face to face again. We’ll hug, goof off and go on as if it was just yesterday that we left Argentina. With age comes wisdom and with distance strength, and longing. A true friend understands you and doesn’t mind: as they say, those that mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.
In my latest novel, I look at the beauty of friendship and forgiveness. I had volunteered at a nursing home in my 20’s, and patients with motor skill challenges were always given paintbrushes to let out their frustrations and for freedom of expression. In my novel, Pierre, a famous painter, painting under the pseudonym Shaw, got everything he asked for: fame, fortune, and global recognition. The package his agent sold him even came with a trophy fiancé and a mansion. All in exchange for…what? He no longer painted what he enjoyed, he no longer painted with passion, and he no longer desired to spend time in the studio or in nature absorbing the beauty of the world around him. Alone, frustrated, lost and ill, his doctor sends him to a nursing home away from everything not only to deal with the onset of Parkinson’s but also to go find the person he once was. Rachel, the nurse assigned to him has her own baggage too, and it doesn’t include dealing with a grumpy old man that feels sorry for himself. Determined to get him out of his shell, she hands him a paintbrush and says “get out your frustrations, you’ll be surprised what you can do.”
When you’re lost, lonely, hurt or in need, you think of your closest friends and families, or you think of that one person who was your rock. Rachel notices that, although Pierre paints poorly, he paints the same picture over and over – a painting of a woman. Rachel does some digging, finds her and brings her to the home to reconnect with him, not knowing she was once his confidant, friend, lover and muse.
True friendship never dies. Not only does Pierre seek and receive forgiveness, Rachel learns to forgive and let go of her baggage, all with the help of a grumpy old man. As Pierre and his muse leave to pick up where they left off twenty-five years ago, he gives his last painting, painted with passion, painted with appreciation, and painted freely with a shaky hand to Rachel for her to treasure.
Friendship, forgiveness and love. The inspiration for The Painting.
Bernadette La Mazza is a novelist and award winning playwright. An adventurer, she loves to listen, observe, and create plays and novels. Her motto is: every day is a story in the making! She is currently putting the finishing touches on her novels: If I Wrote You a Letter, and, The Painting.