A Secret Grave 22: A Weird Coincidence?

.

Of course then I had to go and look at Victor’s painting, which was in a storage rack. I saw immediately that Ramona was right: the two faces were similar.

.

Victor & Mercer side by side 3

.

I had painted Victor entirely from memory, not unlike, I realize now, the way Joe, the blind mathematician, pulls numbers from a screen he sees in his head, a screen that functions as his own personal blackboard. As I worked on the canvas, Victor’s face with its somber expression had emerged slowly, rather like a photo developing in a chemical bath, and I’d felt as if I had no control over it, almost as if it were painting itself on its own, as if a channel had been opened and Victor, wherever he was (perhaps in a concrete-covered grave beneath my studio) were coming through to install himself, his image, on my canvas. I’d shown the portrait to a number of people who’d known Victor back in the day and they all agreed it looked just like him, that the resemblance was uncanny. Now I saw that the resemblance of Mercer to Victor was uncanny. “See what I mean, Mama?” Ramona was standing right next to me.

Oh yes, I saw. We looked at one another in wonder. “Probably a weird coincidence,” I said.

Ramona, who had also been on Victor’s table – I’d sent her to him for problems with vertigo – remembered his face and manner as well as I did. “I’m not so sure, Mama,” she muttered. “I have a funny feeling about it.”

“Like what, Mama?” I knew her funny feelings. Even if they were stagy and exaggerated, there was always a kernel of truth to them.

“I don’t know yet. Just a feeling.”

 

As Mercer continued to work for me over the summer, I noticed other similarities between him and Victor; and I, too, began to develop funny feelings – sentiments that made me extremely uncomfortable, as if a magical curtain between my life and someone else’s had been parted and I’d seen something I wasn’t meant to see. Mercer seemed to have the gift of healing. This first became apparent with a plant on my studio deck that was dying, an expensive fern that had begun to lose its leaves and deep green color, turning a sickly gray as if the life blood were being drained from it. When Mercer was anywhere near the plant, it perked up. This sounds nuts, but I saw it with my own eyes. Mercer could walk out on the deck and the fern would actually bend toward him as if seeking his caress. When he touched it, as he did frequently, its brownish leaves would gladden, tinges of green appearing quite perceptibly at the edges. It didn’t take long, perhaps two or three visits with Mercer stroking and petting the plant before the thing was entirely restored to health. Unbelievable. I didn’t want to embarrass him and make too big a deal out of this, so all I said was: “Wow, you seem to have a way with plants.”

 

He’s a shy kid. Instead of glowing with pride, he turned bright red with mortification. I might as well have told him I’d caught him in an act of disorderly conduct, like peeing in public.

.

IMG_5931

.

The plant was the first thing Mercer healed. That may have been some sort of fluke. But then came the very real and deadly incident that occurred with my gardener, Rene, who was bitten by a snake. Thank god Mercer was around when that happened.

.

To be continued…

.

Cover photo ~ Dna rendering, ynse, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *