-  Fiction - An Acquiescent Composition









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



An Acquiescent Composition

Trembling instantaneously and incomprehensibly, my hands moved uncontrollably across the defiantly blank sheet of paper, my fingers flapping passively on its surface without marking visible points. I wasn't sure precisely how she was able to discern such an enduring pattern without previous entanglements. Gemine was a recent acquaintance, our residing interlocution enduring for only a handful of time. There was no real way she'd be able to arrive at such a profound conclusion without any previous veracity. I felt unsure how to respond. I had no intention of upsetting her further, intruding in her space or causing further disruption. Looking at her resulted in an unexpected mixture of curiosity and trepidation. She remained visibly unsettled but remained surprisingly stoic on the surface, initially. Her reserve began trod wane as stood up suddenly and began pacing back and forth across the floors. She remained surprisingly quiet despite her sudden burst of energy, sliding mutely across the surface, without saying a word. She went back and forth quickly, seeming to search for an undefined objective. I noticed she was trying to avoid looking at me or the accompanying platform. It was unclear whether Gemine was doing so purposely or whether her attention was diverted elsewhere. Watching her maneuver across the surface carefully didn't reveal lingering entropy, the objective she sought kept itself silent, deliberately hidden from sight, her prudent maneuvers revealed little, while the objective she sought retained its elusive underpinnings.
Her silent maneuvering brought about a mixture of conflicting determinations. Taking a surface measure, initial conclusions appeared to indicate that I'd unwillingly created an unexpected fissure with my drawing. However, this wasn't conclusive. Most importantly, I wasn't entirely sure what precisely she recognized in my hands, and wondered how I'd be able to reassure her. Without knowing with absolute certainty, it was difficult to know how to proceed without causing further alarm. If I stopped suddenly, this would require a thorough explanation, given how much effort had gone into setting up the easel in the first place. Stopping an illustration half-way or even three-quarters finished would only cause more questions to arise. Conversely, I could try and determine a new set of expectations, or change tactics without declaring my intent. This would require some effort and I wasn't sure that I could pull it off successfully. Eventually, I decided to attempt a change if course, hoping it would shift her gaze. I'd continue drawing at the same pace, while attempting to change my technique without letting her catch on, hoping my retracements were merely an unfortunate coincidence. I wasn't sure I'd be able to change techniques. In order to give myself some breathing room, my location changed location in a subtle way. Instead of standing at a perpendicular angle, allowing a slight remove to form between me and anyone observing from behind. I stood in directly front of the easel, blocking it from view, at least partially. Arranging my feet until they marked a physical barrier that would at least temporarily give my mind a chance to internalize her unlikely determination.

Looking back in her direction, signaling that I was increasing my determination and concentration by leaning forward into the painting, I wasn't entirely sure she entirely believed my efforts. My eyes glanced backwards in her direction seeking reinforcing erudition instead revealed unexpected dislocation. My efforts seemed to have had the opposite of their intended effect, She appeared to have lost interest in my painting and appeared to have become distracted. This change became obvious and she once more wandering in circles. This was discouraging until she finally calmed down. Slowly, she began concluding her furtive journeys and coming to a pronounced halt. Still unable to look me directly in the eye, she turned her attention in another direction and commented that the walls surrounding us were far too plain, their emptiness wasn't conducive to her creativity. This deflection wasn't entirely surprising but somewhat disappointing. She continued that she was grateful that I was able to convert the emptiness into something resembling a spark of life, but resisted further elaboration. It seemed that she realized that she might have said too much by that point. Gemine sought a logical, speedy exit from the potential unexplainable contradictions and inescapable contortions she'd accidentally half-articulated before catching herself. I walked away from the painting somewhat casually, purposely attempting to cloak my concern. I knew she was watching my every move, so I had to move slowly, without panicking, so I wouldn't appear entirely defensive. I slumped my shoulder and shrugged nonchalantly as to throw suspicion off course. Remaining nervous, yet simultaneously worried about distancing myself too effectively. I was conflicted but eventually came to a realization that I needed some reinforcement. I didn't want to take the ruse too far and deciding it would be better not to turn her completely away from my efforts. I put the pencil down onto the easel. It made a pronounced noise to gain some attention, and stated with quiet firmness that I was finished, pronouncing that no further elaboration was needed on my part.

Appearing somewhat relieved that I'd managed at least to dissuade further inquiries for the moment, she nodded appreciatively and shook her head. This didn't entirely dissolve the questions lingering in the atmosphere but it released the building potential. I took several steps in her direction and stood at her side, released from the unspoken expectations I hadn't anticipated. The easel appeared to diminish in importance as we watched its meandering, unspoken retribution go unfulfilled. I knew there were potentially unpleasant connotations lurking beneath its seemingly tranquil surface. It was better not to delve further beneath the paper. I managed a quick glance in Gemine's direction and noticed she appeared tangibly more relaxed, her shoulders remedied their preceding rigidity with newfound reclinement, the stern movements of her arms became increasingly natural, less forced as time went along. Instilling a sense of calm overcame the tension and she managed to look at me with a sense of relief, gracefully managing the situation. She finally spoke in a measured tone, intimidating we had more important things to focus on than the unexplained intersection. She finally explained that, perhaps, strong parallels were to be expected when exploring similar areas.

This wasn't entirely satisfying, but I reluctantly decided that it was acceptable. She walked across the expanse and didn't seem overtly bothered by her vague rationalization. Gemine instead walked across the room and looked in my direction. She appeared displeased but it wasn't clear whether there was something else I'd done wrong. Looking me over carefully she reiterated an earlier, somewhat disconcerting observation. Gemine implied that she wasn't expecting me to be perhaps, or quite so young, in any case. I waited, carefully withholding my reaction, and pensively looked across the room's exterior walls for some sort of exit. Our situation was quickly becoming increasingly awkward. There didn't appear to be any graceful exit in the immediate area where I could gracefully escape her penetrating gaze. I stood across from her, waiting patiently for further explanation that might intervene, but she'd managed to reiterate her position, adding another layer on top of my increasing confusion. I felt increasingly at a loss, I had no adequate response that would change her perception, and instead felt cast adrift within her improbable contradictions that I couldn't mitigate.

Gemine maintained her unwavering disposition, holding firm for an uncomfortable interval before finally moving closer to examine the easel in greater detail. I watched from a cautious distance as she took the page and turned it over, gazing once more at the illustration I'd hastily drawn. She leaned in and viewed it closely, searching for anything of further note. There was nothing inherently troubling about the painting itself, the visualized structure maintained its steady, nonthreatening form, she finally announced, but there was something that drew her back to it that she couldn't quite comprehend or understand. Surveying its surface, she seemed dismayed that I hadn't put more effort into is details, this made it harder to determine its precise location or it purpose. I wanted to tell her that, in this case, it was actually recalling a place I'd actually encountered earlier. I wanted to tell her all about the things I'd seen inside its walls but faced the dilemma of not wanting to give too much away without thinking through the possible effect. Silence seemed the best response. Narrowly shrugging my shoulders, signaling a somewhat casual approach, I made it appear that it was just something I'd made up from my imagination, the structure was nothing more significant than it appeared. Gemine seemed to accept my resigned indifference, and turned the page back over, sparing the both of us from a long, elaborate explanation. Standing in front of the easel, she stood quietly and looked over the stacks of empty paper. She quickly decided to take a forceful hand and unexpectedly picked up the pencil herself. My inclination to leave the room suddenly evaporated. I wasn't entirely sure what she was capable of, but I wasn't about to walk away before finding out.

Watching without undue expectations, I waited for her to begin the task of filling in the blank page. She made no indication of her intentions and quietly flipped through the sheets on the easel before finding one that was among the least undetermined. Its surface was crisp and visibly untouched, though it has some minor discoloring along its sides. She placed it sideways, parallel to the easel, and looked it over, searching for any indications of flaws. These imperfections might have been too prominent or distracting but she held a clandestine antidote. Gemine turned the paper over insistently and found the reverse was unobtruded. Any residual discoloring wasn't visible, the clear page was hers to fill. Borrowing a moment to contemplate her action, she took the pencil in her hand and began running her fingers across its surface in quick motions, spinning it around. She twirled the pencil around a few times before holding it in a firm grip, arriving at a conductive position around two-thirds' length from the peak.

Without fermenting additional recalcitrance, Gemine commenced her unfettered incursion into the page. Her fingers moved quickly as she began marking initial routes across the surface. The initial sequence of unapologetically curved lines were surprisingly resplendent. Effortlessly bending and wordlessly circling in sweeping motions that looked livelier than I'd anticipated. She drew her sweeping, intuitive lines with remarkable speed. However, her motions weren't random, the narrow lines were placed carefully on the page, unfolding in quick succession. I watched carefully while her uneven strokes methodically built the foundations of a cascading landscape. Her fingers quickly realized an imaginative landscape that unfolded in unpredictable patterns. Filling the empty space in quickly, her diminutive lines created a robust environment as they converged. The lines began crossing one another, building possession of the world. She filled the details, and an unmistakable style began to emerge from within the disconnected figures. The vague outlines which predominated initial stages, slowly coalesced to form firmer manifestations.

I noticed the speed and intensity of her work begin to accelerate as she continued to add detail to her increasingly elaborate composition. Objects seemed to appear from within her curving form, though it wasn't clear whether this occurrence was purposely designed or a result of serendipity. She marked the paper without pausing, maintaining her consistent speed and consistency. She elaborated and embellished certain portions of the page. She seemed to narrow her focus at points, encouraging reticent areas to take increased prominence while intimidating specific sections from becoming overbearing. Alternating quickly between those competing motivations, her fingers appeared to move in simultaneously in contrary directions. This intrinsic divergence didn't appear to slow her process, instead seemed to inspire Gemine to move even faster. I was impressed that she created the circular surroundings regardless of external pressure.

She moved between points on the page without hesitation. Her hands moving swiftly and surely I watched as she systematically started marking the page. The recently-constructed area responded affirmatively. The closer portions completed, she moved to elaborate on the outer sections towards its horizon. She arranged the resulting curving figures in a strangely natural sequence that seemed to flow outward into the distance. Not withstanding the limitations of the page itself, these rows of lines unfolded seamlessly without barriers. I watched her with tempered enthusiasm, impressed by her unmistakable capabilities and boundless imagination. Enchanted by the world she'd managed to form by untempered resilience. I felt myself drawn in by its extending and expanding into the distance. It wasn't immediately clear what place the lines represented but they held a unique energy that was indescribable and irresistible to my curious eyes.

Imprinting her elaborate visual formulation with a resplendent, measured approach required a dual concentration on her part that wasn't immediately visible. Maintaining her resolve while ensuring her intuitive engagement wasn't an easy balance. I kept myself a respectful remove, holding a distinct approach that allowed me to follow along with intruding on her work. She maintained her unwavering commitment to the illustration, following its curved surfaces faithfully, never hesitating along the way. The visage she illuminated along the way became increasingly resilient, appearing to reinforce its dimensions with additional layers, her fingers adding to its depth and nuance with each pass. Gemine's hands never wandered and she determined the paths and structure beforehand, allowing her to move quickly without the need for duplicative retracements and wasteful erasures.

She filled the page with remarkable efficiency, and it soon began to show undeniable flourishes of vibrancy. Remarking that she was reaching a barrier where the process of enhancing existing or adding to additional elements was rapidly becoming a claustrophobic exercise given the small-scale the page allowed. Once its surface became saturated with redundant objects at the margins, she haltingly began diminishing her previously frantic progress to a more reasonable pace. Taking a few steps back so she could survey the illustration's appearance from a comprehensive approach. Gemine took its measure for several minutes, silently internalizing its expanse, she examined its lines carefully, looking for any residing flaws that might need adjustment while trying to correct any lingering areas left open that she might have missed. It didn't take her long to perform this task given her exceptional talents. After several minutes' expenditure, she held the pencil sideways. She brushed its surface with her fingers and cleaned the residue of shards of lead and stray wooden splinters from its tip. The pencil's sharp edge had become noticeably shopworn due to excessive use but benefited immediately from her incisive sharpening,

Placing the rejuvenated pencil down on the easel, she rested it carefully on its surface, allowing it a respite from the preceding frenzy. Taking a step back further from its oncoming surfaces, their clashing, circular storm began to subside as she walked away. Insurmountable peaks slipped into rolling surfaces, the sharp edges smoothed out by the distance. Her position revealed previously obscured paths. These walkways began emerging from within the twisted lines she'd carefully plotted and vigorously sketched across the paper. Their pronounced imprints appeared to converge towards the page's horizon, pointing towards an objective that wasn't immediately clear, but plainly visible just beyond the edge. She didn't completely elaborate all the details within the boundaries. I managed to walk several steps closer, overcoming my guarded reluctance. She signaled that I was welcome to come inward and examine her work. I wasted little time and moved inward. I was immediately impressed by the ferocious level of detail that she'd managed to infer, but also struck by what she'd managed to avoid. Her movements had offered insight and a general sense of proportion and dimension while simultaneously leaving many questions unanswered. Her open, yet concealed approach resulted in a contradictory illustration. It was unmistakably beautiful yet vague to the point that precise directions and objective measurements weren't possible.

Gemine's resplendent illustration covered an evasive outward-facing surface of what appeared to be tangled paths, Her determined approach created an inner conflict that couldn't be eaaily resolved. Her composition appeared purposely designed to elude efforts by intrusive eyes to systematically determine anything lurking beneath its surface, including its origin and location. She invited me to take a step forward to gain a thorough visualization of her rationalized inquiries. I wasn't sure exactly what she meant by that, but I was intrigued and knelt slightly towards the easel, making sure to keep a respectful distance. I looked down at the newly-sharpened pencil and observed that it appeared to rest dutifully, awaiting her command without pressuring her fingers. Looking into the resulting assemblage gave me unexpected inspiration. Her intricate, sweeping motions created an unresolved journey, where the routes seemed indeterminate while cresting towards a concealed location that remained out of reach, even as I moved inexorably closer. My eyes turned back towards the nearby sections, which created a similarly disconcerting effect. Shadows formed at the edges and the rolling, indistinct hills they formed gradually became believable, almost tangible. I'd been reluctant to verbalize my reactions, feeling hopelessly out of my depth, but I managed to compliment her work in a deferential manner that felt appropriate without going overboard. Extending my arms outward and leaning into its surface, I told her that the composition was impressive and so realistic that I could almost feel myself walking through its nascent forms, gliding over the hills into the horizon.

Issuing a generous compliment, I enthusiastically raved that I felt the world she'd created using only a humble pencil to be unimaginable. However, something interrupted my praise, unexpectedly. I felt a disconcerting question emerging from within the page, I paused before nervously asked her without thinking, where exactly the resplendent landscape was located. Her mute response eradicated that line of thought but I was able to think of another line of inquiry that might impress her. I reiterated that I was impressed at how effortlessly her style and function was. Her convergent lines and accumulative structures appeared to flow together seamlessly until it converged, emerging in prescient steps to rapidly configure itself into a nearly-complete realization. The imaginative landscape she'd managed to create was such a stunning vista. It was amazing to see such an elaborate place come alive from a previously unoccupied sheet of paper. I held my breath caught my thoughts before they become overly solicitous, unsure whether my enthusiasm had become overbearing. Looking in her direction nervously, I was unable to gauge much from her stoic expression, it wasn't immediately clear whether I was following the right path on the page or if I'd managed to completely miss one of the subtle artistic turns she'd left partially visible, potentially marking my premature conclusions as misdirected or incomprehensible.

She held her own counsel regarding my initial excitement and encouragement, advising me not to get caught up in the semantics of the moment. Sensing my immediate fervor, she further explained that the most effective paths weren't always the most prominent, or even the most visible. Gemine turned her attention from the surface and finally looked in my direction. It wasn't immediately clear what she was undertaking, but I saw within her purple eyes, and inquisitive glare that appeared oddly transparent. It was almost like she could see directly through me. I needed to switch my gaze quickly in order to maintain my privacy, If I let her see directly into my eyes for too long, there could be trouble.

I quickly realized that she'd find out precisely what my thoughts were if I stood passively in her path and allowed her to proceed without impediment. Gemine's resulting effort and unwavering psychological technique she implemented using only her eyes was immediately discomforting. I found her suddenly heightened level of internal scrutiny unsettling and couldn't immediately form a response. Her mesmerizing eyes narrowed and followed an unexpected inroad directly into my subconscious. It felt unsheltered, I was vulnerable with no recourse. She maintained her unsettling conviction, directing her full impulse completely in my direction. I had no reasonable way to respond without appearing rude or disrespectful. I decided to maintain a steady position and not make any sudden moves that she might find excessively defensive. I felt I had nothing to hide, but wanted to maintain my privacy regardless. I wasn't sure how to countervail her incursion at first by slowly arrived at a rational response.

Firmly deciding to evade her direct glare and the subsequent problems that might arise, I determine an effective, yet not disrespectful solution. It wasn't immediately clear exactly why she maintained her insistent focus, but I simultaneously needed to find a measure of protection. I couldn't determine the precise reason she had behind using such an unfamiliar and intrusive approach. I decided to turn in another direction, faced the western wall and avoided her by simply turning in another direction. She was somewhat taken aback, but maintained her unrelenting focus, initially ignoring my efforts to get out of its path. She kept at it for an unsettling interval, attempting to reconnect our gaze, I maintained my defensive posture, my shoulders turned against her eyes as I turned my attention elsewhere. I didn't actively thwart her efforts, but my reluctance to acquiesce became clear after a few minutes. She tried to return my attention back in her direction several more times by waving her arms and asking me to turn around. However, i was able to resist her temporal hold once I figured out what she was trying to accomplish. Gemine made several more attempts to flatten my attention before eventually deciding not to pursue this approach any further or risk alienating me and diminishing our putative relationship.

Taking a step back, I turned around eventually. At this point, she'd given up. I watched her shoulders recline and her eyes resumed their normal appearance. She walked towards the easel, somewhat reluctantly. I'd managed to balance my defenses against a residing respect. She responded with unexpected humility. Perhaps, she realized that she'd overstepped her boundaries. I watched carefully as she figuratively returned her attention to the easel and deciding against needlessly intruding in my space, as uncertain results would doubtless cause unwanted discomfort. She nodded her head, apologetically, expressing regret that her temporal incursion might have caused needless discomfort.

She reiterated that she meant no harm to occur, and quietly turned her attention back to the illustration, its myriad connotations still unresolved. I remained unsure how to perceive her erratic approach, simultaneously elusive yet incomprehensibly intrusive, these were strange contradictions I wasn't able to reconcile easily without further explanation. I waited for her to elaborate but she wasn't forthcoming. Instead, Gemine shifted her approach again. Without adding further elaboration, she directed my attention back to her creation. She motioned for me to assist her, and resume exploring the illustration's structure while bearing in mind its overarching appearance. She explained that I'd nearly gotten lost, my eyes stranded in within its detailed lines. I needed to expand my point of view, she elaborated. I'd managed to make some impressive observations but there remained much I couldn't easily comprehend by myself without her help.

I waited for some type of guidance from her end, but she wasn't immediately forthcoming. Standing quietly in front of the easel, I looked purposefully for anything that might have gone unseen, or been overlooked. Looking over the canvas repeatedly revealed little I hadn't seen previously. Its tangled lines felt scattered and disconnected, twisting into each other seemingly at random without discernable patterns. I realized that I was probably looking at it too closely and decided to take a step back to view the composition from a longer angle, Gemine didn't seem worried by my lack of progress at first but seemed to become aware of my frustrations after a period where I made little progress. Finally, she relented and gave me some tangible advice, though she did this somewhat reluctantly.

Holding her perspective and talking slowly to avoid confusion and ensure my understanding, she began to guardedly advise me to examine her drawing carefully, She told me to look for something that might release a hidden aspect or a clandestine formulation. She wanted me to investigate its subliminal aspects, which would hopefully uncover something I hadn't encountered previously within its elaborate composition. Resuming my inquiry with renewed focus, I traced its formulations and structure systematically. I was gradually overcame its resplendent colorful surface and looked further beneath its outer design for hidden aspects lying beneath its immediate presentation, unseen elements prominent constructs. She took a step back and allowed me to draw my own conclusions without interference. Her approach wasn't entirely passive. Gemine observed my methods carefully, attempting to gain some insights from observing my techniques, whether my methods systematic or scattershot. Patiently, I continued the fevered search for some time, going over the illustration repeatedly but finding little additional insight or elucidation. The process became increasingly frustrating since I had nothing to guide me. It was difficult to locate an objective despite the fact that i had no idea precisely what I was seeking.

Despite my studious efforts to examine the figures on the page, there remained some underlying concerns that I couldn't reconcile. I remained nervous for a residual period and it took some effort to resolve my intuitive sense of safety and privacy to the point that I felt secure enough. It took me some time before I could fully concentrate on the task at hand. Despite my persistent efforts, the painting wouldn't divulge any secret passages or significant denouements. At the same time, I gradually came to the conclusion that her incursion was due more to curiosity than menace. It took concerted effort. but I slowly moved beyond her disorienting actions and what seemed to be an accidental over-reach. After a pronounced effort, I was finally able to fully re-examine her elaborate composition for an extended period. Unforeseen aspects began to surface tangibly from within. Emergent formations and structures appeared once I finally managed to transcend its individual lines. However, they remained surprisingly resilient and distracting from the main image. It wasn't immediately clear what conclusion my extensive efforts would eventually reveal. I wondered if there was something in the empty spaces between them that I overlooked but couldn't be sure, since Gemine purposely removed herself from my immediate proximity, maintaining a distant observation while overseeing my efforts.

Things began to grow increasingly disconcerting, I made little headway into unraveling the mysterious composition's layers of conflicting lines and contrasting surfaces. After struggling to find answers on my own, I decided to take a different approach. I took deep breath, swallowed my pride and summoned her for some assistance. With a nervous tinge in my voice, I asked in a plaintive tone whether she wanted to fill in any additional portions of the page, pointing to the recently sharpened utensil. She responded negatively, the composition was finished. She politely but firmly turned down my request, and carefully explained why wanted to keep the pencil sharpened. She wanted to leave it in punctual condition, so it could commence in readiness for the next task. It was a gesture of kindness for whomever might come along and follow in our wake. She'd finished her illustration to that point and further elaboration would create additional confusing layers. I accepted her explanation with resignation; she was correct; there was no purpose in additional efforts. Looking closely, I quickly surmised that her hands had become visibly weary and exhausted by that point, I needed to quickly switch tactics and arrive at an alternative method.

My eyes continued thoroughly examining the picture, straining my eyes to figure out the meanings hidden within its narrow lines. I found myself distracted by their paths, despite her entreaties, I thought they shared a connection that I was missing despite my efforts. She spoke up without prompting and reminded me not to get lost within its circular paths again, and to constitute a deflection, where I'd be able to focus attention on their destination, and not focus excessively on the paths. This was more difficult than it appeared, their complexity made overlooking them quite difficult, but I managed to achieve a balance after some effort. Looking beneath the confluent surfaces and attempting to discern meaningful insight from the hidden area beneath revealed little insight. Gemine unexpectedly pulled in my direction and pushed me on the shoulder with somewhat surprising effort and force, making a repeated attempt to withdraw my attention from the overwhelming details that were persistently distracting. I'd fallen beneath their spell and had become stranded within her illustration, just as I had previously become mesmerized by that mysterious book she'd placed innocuously on the table, extracted from the entrancing volumes shelved within her library.

She waited patiently for me to realize the misguided approach of my techniques patiently and looked away silently watching for me to discover the conclusion. She purposely averted her eyes so as not to distract me, she certainly didn't want to risk destabilizing our recent acquaintance. Gemine decided not to push me too hard at that point and risk going any further than she already had. She maintained a somewhat disappointed disposition. but it remained unclear what she expected me to discover at that juncture. I held my hands in front of me and began running them over the surface lightly, moving across the page in circular motion, parallel to its wavy lines, still unable to discover what she wanted me to find. She took a step further back and began making some strange observations that caught me off-guard. I hadn't anticipated her change in tactics, which were accompanied by a strange adjustment to her tenor which become more pronounce and louder Gemine began speaking in a louder voice and began asking a series of strange questions.

Her fingers traced a specific line on the page and followed its branches from side to side quickly, crossing over its uneven imprint several times. She then asked me, in a determined tone, whether or not any of this was familiar. I wasn't sure what she was attempting to determine, and shrugged my shoulders quickly. Despite me repeated efforts, I was confident that I'd never been to this place before. Carefully explaining the contradiction to her didn't appear to change her mind. Gemine insisted that I should have at least a passing familiarity with that place. She moved her fingers across the page with a measure of intensity I hadn't previously encountered. Her hands grew more strident with each movement across the composition. Attempting to outline a more pronounced angle didn't alter my perception. It was a magnificent illustration but I didn't recognize any of it. The resplendent landscape she drew wasn't eliciting any hidden memories. I took a step back and tried repeatedly to engage from different perspectives but nothing indicated a previous encounter. Standing a pace back from the easel, I felt somewhat disappointed and frustrated that I was unable to locate what she expected me to find.

She didn't share my frustration at that point and reasserted her questions before resuming the inquiry undeterred, Gemine didn't procrastinate further and dwell on my lack of progress. Gemine was absolutely determined, and refocused her attention fully into attempting to help me with deciphering the evocative image she'd intuitively composed on the easel. She insisted that there was something within its elaborate composition that would dislodge something from my subconscious. She moved directly in front of me standing between the easel. Waiting to ensure I received her message, she resumed her exploration, asking no further help from me at that point. She turned her full attention into interpretation of the page, looking into the existing forms carefully. She glanced down at the pencil and it took a pronounced effort on her part not to elaborate on the drawing. Gemine's was steadfast and didn't succumb to its insistent appearance, resisting the temptation to pick up the pencil.

Any additional details she added would disturb its uneasy balance with distracting elements. Offering a countering explanation, she asked if there was something located within the page that was upsetting, that perhaps I wanted to avoid recalling. I took a few steps closer, drew my head toward the surface and looked it over with a mixture of reluctance and nervousness. I was frightened by what I might find lurking within. Taking a cautious perspective towards the incursion, my wariness dissolved quickly when I realized that there weren't any prominent dark sections visible. It wasn't immediately apparent what she was expected me to find, but there wasn't anything particularly upsetting. I wondered how she could have arrived at such an unsetting perspective. I looked over the brightly-colored, resplendent composition that appeared vivid, colorful, and optimistic and couldn't see any significant objects that would cast a shadow over its elaborate design.

She slowly drew closer to the surface, unwilling to change her tactics. My consistent denial only reinforced her conviction that there had to be something there. Overlooking my consistent denials, Gemine persisted in her determined effort, interpreting my intractable reaction as partial vindication. Unwilling to give up, she reiterated her determination that I had to remember something. Without elaborating, she fearlessly drew her fingers further across the mysterious forms outlined on the canvas with an implicitly demanding gesture. Its surface intuitively, almost involuntarily guarded itself from her forceful movements, pushing back and withdrawing in response to her increasingly insistent patterns. It appeared that she was performing another elaborate visual trick but had gone a step too far. Gemine withdrew her fingers from the page, lifting them up several inches away from its front. The swirling, curved lines relaxed quickly resuming their stationary posture and settling, fixed in place. Their appearance hadn't materially changed but she contacted them too closely with her fingers, disrupting them unintentionally. Gemine was noticeably more careful during this sequence and kept her hands at a slightly elevated height above the page, she wasn't going to unsettle their intricate balance. She waited and took a longer, somewhat unfocused swipe across the page, careful to maintain a respectful distance. Her fingers moved quickly and turned in the opposite direction, which shifted her attention. She began to slow tracking the lines and stepped back to a neutral position.

Gemine began pacing deliberately in front of the easel to block my view while simultaneously repeating her question: Was I absolutely sure that I'd never actually journeyed to the place depicted in her composition. This was something she needed to know, implying that I should think about my response carefully before answering, Hearing her forceful inquiry was surreptitiously disconcerting. I reluctantly walked over to the canvas again and examined it at close range. Her drawing remained entrancing and beautiful but while some elements appeared familiar, it was most like due to my recent prolonged interpretation than any tangible memories. There was nothing that would evoke actually running or walking across its surface. I could remember nothing that her sketched, seemingly off-hand pencil rendering might have provoked in my mind. This approach wasn't effecting any dislodging of clandestine occurrence from the past. We encountered a formidable deterrent and had to find a better way through it before we found ourselves stranded there for an extended period. This was frustrating but she decided to take a different tactic, maintaining a contrary approach I hadn't anticipated. Her drawing's function appeared to shift unexpectedly within a surprisingly short period. Its innate purpose and perspective changed from the creative result of a fantastic, imaginative rendering into a justified construction, intentionally representational figure resembling a map or blueprint though without accompanying results, leaving its indeterminate location and origin unsettled.
I was surprised that her composition had taken on such an unexpectedly tangible dimension but she continued in this unusual course of inquiry. Gemine pulled the paper upward into the brighter light in order to allow me a more effective and pronounced viewpoint. I looked at its design carefully with increasing veracity but despite its elaborate appearance and immutable style, I felt little more than aesthetic appreciation for her inspired artwork. She took a moment to reflect on my subdued response but remained convinced there was something more to it than might appear upon deeper reflection. Gemine asked me to concentrate and close my eyes for a moment, to think about the picture from another perspective. I did as she asked and blinked my eyes, looking downward, and subsequently closing of the exterior for several moments. When I came back, she was looking directly at me, but I didn't recall anything that I'd be able to connect to her drawing in any physical sense. I thought back through all the meandering expeditions through the myriad locales encountered during our recent excursions. My memories vividly recalled walking alongside the mysterious figure in the black cloak and her enigmatic navigator, but none of these excursions reasserted themselves in a manner that could evoke her magnificent drawing. I plaintively shook my head with a mixture of disappointment and frustration. I desperately wanted to find some answers, but was unable to locate anything lurking within my subconscious tangibly connected to the composition. She insisted that I needed to make additional effort to ensure with certainty there was nothing visible within the frame that I might have possibly remembered.

Gazing on the easel's surface furtively made little difference, she maintained her watch but became increasingly resigned to the realization that her efforts hadn't elicited the desired results. Allowing further contemplation of the drawing's intricacies wouldn't change my perspective or benefit surreptitious memories, Gemine appeared to reluctantly reach this conclusion, realizing that I wouldn't ever be able to find something that wasn't present. Walking over to the easel, she took a regretful, forlorn look into her picture one final time before turning over the page and hiding its intricate yet ineffective design from view. She'd finally given up on her efforts, signaling me to follow suit. I wasn't expecting her to surrender to its non-existent pull but she had no obvious alternative. I began walking away from the intangibly diminishing easel slowly and noticed that its surface and its accompanying pencil hadn't changed appearance, unmoved by her motions as she passed its back-facing surface. Its dormant surface undisturbed by her nearby presence. I noticed she kept her head down, looking away from her illustration, as she walked past from the easel with pronounced dejection. She arrived at a brief respite and stood across the room, placing her hands at her sides, Avoiding eye-contact with me and looking past the easel along the other portion, her eyes looked somewhat distant. She stared into the remaining room somewhat distant, staring noncommittally on the perimeter. Gemine took one final glance at the canvas, looking in its direction, and regretfully motioned her frustration with a dismissive wave of her hand . Gemine took a moment to resolve her misdirected energies, which allowed her mind to quickly dispatch any residing doubts. It had taken much effort but she'd reconciled herself to its unsuccessful conclusion and appeared to reach what was obviously a profoundly disappointing realization.

The somewhat despondent period she endured was surprisingly brief. It didn't take long before she recovered from this setback with surprising speed and dexterity. revealing rejuvenated inspiration. It wasn't clear what exactly propelled this change in her disposition but it was unmistakable. She appeared to reach a partially reasonable conclusion before moving on quickly, then finding a different path. This seemed to lift her spirits enough to pass through the insurmountable blockade, a deterrent she'd accidentally created with her own hand. Without a word of explanation, her intuitive approach shifted its objective effortlessly. She transitioned quickly from remote observation to textural installation. Gemine's posture regained altitude and strength, her arms straightened while her fingers followed suit, forging an unbreakable hold on the surroundings. She pivoted suddenly and faced forward, standing directly across the canvas while her remaining position followed quickly and she moved forward with renewed purpose. She recalibrated her viewing angle and suddenly her sights uniformly, aimed squarely in my direction. Gemine's visage coalesced and narrowed until her gaze resembled a slender path, taking a precise path to a uninterrupted state. Her eyes calm and detached. Gemine held absolute control of her instruments, flawlessly following an retracing my movements undistracted. Her intrinsic stamina, incisive capabilities and incontestable determination instantaneously converged. Before realizing what occurred, I felt her eyes piercing through me without encountering even marginal obstruction. Unable to summon any significant defensive maneuvers, there wasn't adequate space or time for me to repel her unanticipated incursion.

- Michael Palisano