He glanced down the street and as he did, he thought of Jeannette and wondered if her Casey had been returned to her. After a moment, he settled in his mind that everything must have been returned to the way they were before the painting. He remained at the fence for a few more minutes then made his way back into the house.
Every day for the next five weeks, Casey worked feverishly with a renewed enthusiasm producing painting after painting. He was like a man possessed but knew without any doubt that he would create beauty as never having been witnessed before.
As the days rolled by, Casey also thought about Jeannette. He admired the way she loved the other him and craved to have that kind of deep love in his own life. The more he pondered it, the more he wondered where the Jeannette was from this time and why she had not revealed herself. The whole ordeal was totally surreal, yet, there was something about it that kept drawing him back to it and, try as he might, he couldn’t put his finger on it.
It was during the eighth week since his return home that things took a big turn for Casey. He finished the last painting that completed his work for the gallery. There was no doubt in his mind that the paintings would not only command an excellent price, but that they would sell quickly as well
As he watched the workers crate the paintings for shipment to the gallery, Casey felt a mild sense of relief wash over him. He was proud of his accomplishment. When one of the men inquired about the painting with the cottage, Casey instructed them to leave it. Inasmuch as he believed it to be the best, he couldn’t bring himself to part with it.
That night, when all the workers were gone and he was alone with his thoughts, Casey went into the studio and stared at the painting. The longer he gazed at it, the more convinced he became that he had to return. He had to find Jeannette. The question was: How? He contemplated the problem for over three hours before he reasoned that he would have to add something to the painting to bring it to life again.
He decided that it would be best to change something in the yard for fear that if he changed the cottage, it would ruin his chances of ever getting back to her. As he painted in some flowers, he couldn’t help wonder if he was going crazy or somewhere had a breakdown. He even wondered if the event with Jeannette actually happened or if he just imagined it. One thing he did know was that he would be transported back to her or that nothing would happen; a thought he truthfully didn’t want to bring into the equation.
Casey finished his work and had all he could do to keep from going outside to look. Based upon his memory of how things happened previously, he felt it best to go to bed and see what developed in the morning. He tossed and turned for an hour or two then finally drifted into a peaceful deep sleep.
Early next morning, with coffee mug in hand, he stepped into the studio, glanced at the painting, and then made his way into the yard. He was excited to see that things looked exactly like the painting. He turned to see the cottage and his heart beat harder in his chest. He walked over to the fence and looked around. No one was there so he waited. When nothing happened, he made up his mind to go look for Jeannette.
Casey opened the gate but when he went to step through, he couldn’t. He tried and tried but each time he was stopped by an invisible wall. Beads of sweat appeared on his forehead and a sinking feeling engulfed him as he realized he was trapped. He was free to move around the house and yard but for whatever reason, he wasn’t allowed beyond.
Momentarily stunned by this new discovery, Casey remained by the fence for quite some time. Once the initial shock wore off, he hurried back into the studio and tried painting the street as he remembered it, hoping that if he did he would be able to venture out and look for Jeannette.
After trying a half dozen times with no success, Casey walked out to the fence and looked around to see if anything at all had changed. To his dismay, everything was at it was with no sign of Jeannette anywhere. He was about to resign himself to the fact that she was gone forever when he recalled having looked up into the sky and venting his anger just before she appeared. That had to be it.
He paced back and forth wishing his memory would serve him right and let him remember what he had said. Was it even possible that it didn’t matter what he said as long as he duplicated the moment as best he could? He had to try. So looking up, he shouted, “I don’t know what to do. You have to help me. Please help me.”
April 9, 2015