|Clea Salavert, Mother and Daughter Sitting on a Rock (scanned copy of lost original, circa 2006)|
It is just a drawing by a three-year old. There is nothing special about it, except that when I first saw it and I asked Clea what it was, the explanation she gave made a lot of sense to me. Once we grow older, we cannot see the world through the eyes of child anymore, so when — or if — we come across a representation of the world as a child sees it, and we are somehow able to trace the interpretation they have made of the world around them, I feel it is a nice surprise.
Of course, at the time I never thought I would end up treasuring this picture the way I do now. It somehow became stuck to the fridge door and stayed there for many years. It is still there, reminding us daily of the little artist she could have been when we fetch the milk for breakfast. The original, of course, was destroyed: it ended up in the recycling bin, like all the many other drawings Clea would make in her early years. I guess I should be glad that one day I took it to work and scanned it. I used Photoshop to add the title Clea had given it, and her name.
It was really meant to be kind of a joke: I would hang her masterpiece on the wall and admire it with a feigned critical eye, making teasing comments such as ‘the evident masterful combination of light, shade and colour’, or ‘the expert control of the line where the absence of light would make it invisible’; nonsense of that kind she giggled to. Now, I cannot remember exactly when she made it, but you might wish to consider that this is one of the few ways of escape we, the grieving parents, have at our disposal: to fictionalise their past, since we have not been given the chance to create a record of their future.
Clea enjoyed all make-believe games. She loved impersonations, and in her rather original games she loved to pretend she was someone else. I wish I were someone else, too, so I could fictionalise a present and a future that did not include her absence as the overwhelming feature.