This short story will be linked up at the SHORT STORY PROMPT LINK PARTY 22.
Ready? Here’s the prompt:
The eyes in the painting looked…
Now, here’s my version:
THE PAINTING AT THE DINER
The eyes in the painting looked as if they were following me. Were they?
A few years ago when we toured the Louvre, I was anxious to see the Mona Lisa and it did not disappoint! Contrary to what some say, her eyes do not follow you! A scientific analysis was performed to determine such and the outcome was that her eyes are actually looking about 15 degrees to the right!
This painting here though was not the one in the grand museum in Paris, it was in a small diner on an off the beaten path location in rural Alabama.
We had taken a Sunday drive and had stopped for lunch at the only place available. Having driven down a long stretch of highway, we welcomed the sight of the diner. Hubby always says these are the best places to eat. I tend to not prefer such but he’s a big fan.
The place was small with three workers present. The waitress was a teenage girl who told us her grandmother was the cook. She also mentioned that the elderly man by the old fashioned cash register was her grandfather.
We ordered burgers and fries along with milkshakes. Hubby’s mouth was watering, he just knew it was going to be a good meal. I was less interested in the food as my attention was on the décor.
For those of you who have eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, then you’ll know what I’m referring to. This small place had such décor. It was all interesting to look at.
Then, it caught my eye – an old picture of a woman or was it a painting? It was a close up image of her from about the neck up. She wore a hat tilted on her head and was dressed in a black and white striped jacket or maybe it was a dress, I couldn’t decide which it was. A lace collar surrounded her neck. Her hair was mostly hidden but I could see some gray. Her face was deeply wrinkled and I could tell she had no teeth and wore no dentures. Her eyes were a dark brown and looked like they could see into my soul!
My staring stayed fixed on her face as I got up from my chair to go to the restroom. That’s when I realized her eyes were following me, although they did not look menacing. Staring at the painting nearly caused me to trip as I bumped into the teenage girl as she was bringing the milkshakes to our table.
I quickly made my way to the restroom after telling her to please excuse me for clumsiness. She just laughed and said it was okay. Exiting the restroom, my eyes found the painting again…and yes, the eyes followed me back to the table where my hubby was enjoying his vanilla shake.
I sat down and took a sip of mine. Yum, the chocolate was tasty! Hubby asked what was so interesting as he took notice of my constant gaze. I whispered to him that the woman in the painting followed me with her eyes. He just raised his eyebrows then looked away, clearly not amused as he reminded me that I thought the same thing about the Mona Lisa.
Soon enough our burgers and fries arrived and though I was still staring at the painting, I had to admit to my hubby that the food was surprisingly tasty! A juicy burger with mustard and onion only! Yes, just like I ordered with a thick slice of an onion, unlike the measly amount of onion you get at most fast food places. Hubby went the full route with his by ordering cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion.
After we finished eating, hubby went over to where the old man sat on a stool at the counter to pay for our food just as the girl came back to the clear the table.
She told me she noticed I’d been staring at the painting. Then she said asked me did I notice that the woman’s eyes follow you. I told her that yes, I did notice. She then offered more information.
“The painting pleases my grandmother. That’s Granny, she was my grandmother’s mother.”
Before walking away from the table, she added that Granny watches over the place and keeps an eye on everything. Well, that’s one thing I can surely vouch for!!
*This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.