OLWG · writing

Étude Florale en Noir

Written for the fun of it



I met Valerie at a ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ meeting in Tulsa. The meeting was at Jimmy Youngbird’s house. Jimmy was the head of the watch group, and an officer, of some sort, in the H.O.A.

I know now what happened, but I had no idea at the time. I won’t try to explain it here, but suffice to say that I believe I was bewitched and wound up going to Valerie’s house for a glass of wine after the meeting. She lived in a red brick ranch on Quapaw Crescent. It was within easy walking distance of Jimmy’s house, where we had met.

The first thing I noticed as I came in through the front door was how nice the house smelled; sweet, floral, subtle and somehow familiar. I knew the smell but couldn’t quite place it. The second thing I noticed was the oil painting that hung in the entryway. The canvas showed interwoven colours, with countless shades of pastel greens. There were faint pinks and a crisp, saturated blue without any purple undertones. A colour that I would call a galaxy blue. There was marbling of white throughout the background. The foreground was done in obsidian black by an artist skilled with a palette knife. I immediately recognized the image. It was a depiction of common milkweed, such as blooms during the summer in the sandy soils of Oklahoma.

That’s what the aroma was; I recognized it as the fragrance produced by the clusters of pink-purple flowers of common milkweed.

I commented on the painting.

“Thank you, said Valerie, “my grandmother did it. She was a healer. Her role was to secure the help of the spirit world, especially the ‘Creator’ for the benefit of others. She painted this for me. The piece has powers. Can you smell it?”

“Yeah, I can,” I said. “Are you telling me that the floral fragrance comes from the painting?”

She smiled and headed towards the kitchen, “Red or white?” she asked.


Betcha didn’t think I could do that?