Eliza – Self-portrait at the easel by Sofonisba Anguissola

Self-portrait at the easel by Sofonisba Anguissola

Two paint brushes in her hands, Eliza stares at me. She paints from memory her mother and herself sitting close, susurrating soft words, embracing, and proving to one another that they care.

The subject doesn’t appear to surprise Eliza, as much as it does me. She boldly gives me her transparent icy eyes, freezing my concerns. I never knew she was aware of this picture’s existence. She must have spent hours on the canvas, day and night in her room. I could hear her working on a project but I was never interested in her hobbies. I should have been.

Her stare hurls guilt and regrets at my face. My heart feels weak standing next to a child who resents me for hiding the truth from her. For years, she lived on lies, remorse and sadness, without comprehending why. Today, she stands before me grown. In an instant she became an adult, my equivalent, and no longer my daughter.

Through her eyes, I can enter her soul and follow the beats of her heart giving rhythm to her enraged breath. From this moment, we both know our future as a family is broken forever. She will never call me her father again.

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