A friend commissions a painting of the house she’s about to move out of. A couple days later, I strap a folding chair to my bike and pedal to Logan Square.
It’s a warm, sunny afternoon. I set up the chair in a square of grass across the street from the house. A guy walks out of the neighboring house, looks my way, and waves. People walk by with their dogs, park their cars, others get in and drive away. Nobody pulls into the space in front of me to fuck up my view.
A man and his young son go up to the house. He turns my way several times before unlocking the door and going in. His neighbor comes back out and asks how the painting’s going. I explain that a woman who lives there is moving out and wants a painting for a keepsake. He smiles at me and goes back inside.
I can’t tell if it’s going well or not, but get the picture to a point I know too well——the moment that I either have to stop so I don’t wreck it, or throw it away.
I pack up my gear and go meet a friend for dinner nearby.
I text that her painting’s done. She asks for a photo, so I email one. She says it’s beautiful; but what house is that? For a second, I wonder if she’s fucking with me, but then double-check the address. Wrong house.
She wants to buy it anyway, then sends me photos of the house she actually lives in. I start a new painting. While I’m working, I think about all those nice people who passed by and saw me sitting and painting on their street. Unless my friend happened by of course, nobody would’ve known to correct my location. I was five or six houses off.
I’d never been inside, so maybe that was part of it, but the two houses I painted look nothing alike. Is my memory going?
Anyhow, this is the right house.