Prompt: write about an untrue family story
The children were free to walk about, a teacher assigned to each group of ten. My sister’s golden brown curls, having been brushed that morning, stood frizzy and with happy attention. She and her friends chatted cheerfully, spunkily meandering from one portrait to the next, with their small eyes of wonder; big and inspired. It was their third grade field trip. The colors and strokes made by artists: the backdrop to holding a purse and standing with friends in an outfit of matching scrunchie to socks to stirrup stretch pants to body suit, planned weeks in advance for this very special occasion of long bus rides, packed lunches and free spirits.
The curator asked that they gather around, to study one painting in particular. He explained its importance to history and creativity and beauty and asked the crowd if anyone knew the name of the artist behind such a marvelous wonder. She stood on her toes, the girl with the curls, and in her red top, and side pony. She raised her hand straight up as high as could be, quietly chanting, “pick me, pick me, pick me!” He pointed his finger, calling on her, releasing the excitement pent in her pointed toe to her waving fingers.
“My mom did!” she exclaimed with enthusiasm and matter of fact!
The looks on their faces of confusion, brows burrowed and slight head shakes were not ones she detected.
“Your mom?” he said so as not to offend the spirit of a girl.
“YES!” she continued talking quite surely. “My mom! The real one is hanging at my house!”
Again, the adults chuckled, but, still, she did not notice as she shook her head again and again up and down excited and fast, her eyes wide of truth and intent to impress.
He went on to explain that it was Renoir, in fact, who painted that those two sisters on a terrace with hats full of flowers and gardens as their landscape. Yet, the innocence inside that sister of mine, stood convinced that the imposter hung on that wall of the museum, staring at her, with lies and betrayal offending her honor.
“She signed it an everything!” she continued to say, about the discount print hanging in the pretty golden frame on the wall in the living room next to the mirror and the staircase so everyone could see it, day after day, as they came in and out of her childhood home, with the signature of her mother scribbled down in the corner.