For years, the majestic beauteous painting of Aunt Victoria had hung on our cream walls. It had a large iridescent frame and the painting was made of gold. It was a portrait of Aunt Victoria dressed in an iwis elegant dress. She had no expression but it could easily be mistaken for sadness. Still, she looked very beautiful, a beauty I have longed for, for ages. I had asked the story of how the painting came about multiple times but the topic would always be changed. That was until my dearest Grandmother held me by arms, dragged me to her favourite Victorian styled room, sat me down and began to tell me the story of Victoria in Gold.
In the old days, Aunt Victoria was the finest lady in town. She had long wavy brown hair, a slender figure, pearly white teeth, and an incredulous smile and was beyond voguish. Every woman wanted to be her and every gentleman wanted to marry her. She had many suitor especially young gentlemen from prestigious families but she never fancied them. She treated them like stone on the pavement. They all failed to get her attention except dear Victor.
Victor was an adonis but average nevertheless. His father was a well-known doctor and his mother a caregiver. They led a humble life. He had manners far beyond any royal and a gorgeous smile. He made Victoria feel happy and comfortable in her own skin, something she did not feel often. However, they both knew that they were living a fantasy. They were from far too different classes after all he was a painter with a gardening job at Victoria’s house on the side. They were positive that if their love were to live, they had a tremendous uphill battle to face.
Victor left wonderful paintings week after week addressed to Victoria. They always had a hidden meaning and Victoria could decipher them with just one look. At times, she would laugh upon seeing them and other times she would cry and lock herself up for days at end. Victoria was Victor’s poetry and his pen was his paint brush. Victoria’s parents questioned her about the man sending paintings but she feigned ignorance and they soon became accustomed to the delivery of paintings.
Months passed and Victoria’s room was filled with numerous picturesque paintings. Yet, at the same time, Victoria’s father’s patience was depleting. His greatest wish was to see his only daughter joyfully married. He pleaded with Victoria to find a man she would be blissfully married to but she could not tell him about Victor thus she kept refusing. She did not want him to be rejected before she woke up from the fairy tale love of hers.
For Victoria’s father, days passed like years and he was very aware that his early years were long behind him. He could not take it anymore and thus he got Victoria engaged to one of the finest gentlemen in town. When she heard the news, Victoria uttered “I am not a property in which you may trade for your wish to be fulfilled,” in a calm yet vile
“This is for your own happiness, you shall be thankful in the future,” replied Victoria’s father in a heartbroken manner.
Just like that, the topic was concluded. Victoria had too much respect to overturn her father’s command or even protest more than she had done which left her torn, as she felt she was betraying her love for Victor.
News spread and Victor heard about the betrayal but he did not say nor do anything until the night before Victoria’s engagement. Days before so, Victoria felt penitent. She believed that Victoria’s silence was punishment for her lack of courage. On the night before her engagement, Victoria received a huge painting from Victor. She took it and flew up the stairs into her quarters with a big smile despite the size of the painting.
That was the last time Victoria was seen smiling. Victoria never woke up the next morning. On her dressing table was a letter worded with ‘I am sorry but I hope you can hang the painting up’. The reason for her death nor how she died was never known, just like the location of Victor. That was the beginning to Aunt Victoria’s gaze upon us from our cream walls.
Grandmother believes that she died because she was love sick.
I, on the other hand, believe that there was something in the painting that only Aunt Victoria could understand.