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  • Charlotte

Young Girl on a Beach

A firm highlight of my week is the hour I spend chatting with my telephone friend, Jill (name changed). Matched with one another through Time to Talk Befriending at the start of the first lockdown, Jill and I talk about everything and not much at all, as I potter in my little flat, and Jill potters in her home, on the other side of Brighton.


Every time we speak, our conversation meanders from how we're feeling that day, to what we can see out the window, and what snacks we might have in the cupboard or fridge. Both Jill and I have bright days and dull days, are currently enjoying all the signs of spring, and very much enjoy sweet dessert pots. We have plenty in common.


This week when we spoke, Jill said something she's never said before. She told me she was going to describe all her pictures and treasures she could see around her. 'What a great idea', I thought, and wondered why I hadn't asked her to share her surroundings in such detail before.


After describing a few photos on her mantelpiece, Jill came to what she described as her favourite picture, called Young Girl on a Beach. Hearing that the painting had a name, I wondered if it might be well known, and if I could look it up. A few moments later I had the picture on my laptop in front of me.


I shared with Jill that I had found the picture 'on the computer' and asked about a few details she hadn't yet mentioned, just to check we were in fact looking at the same picture. 'Is the girl carrying a basket with fish?' I asked. 'Yes, I think so' Jill replied, 'She's looking out, almost smiling, and somehow she's both in the sun and not in the sun.' As she said this, perhaps for the first time since our befriendship began, a moment of comfortable silence settled between us, as we looked at the picture together, soaking up the scene and the sun.