It wasn’t long before I started daydreaming about him as well. If I was at home I was thinking about him, if I was at work I was sitting looking at him. It was like my life had come to a standstill all because of one painting, a painting that I thought was slightly unimpressive and not nearly as nice to look at as many of the other works in the gallery. It made no sense that I was spending so much time just staring at it, but he drew me in every time. It was his eyes. It took me a while to figure that out but it was easy to see once I had noticed it the first time. I had always felt like he really was looking at me, staring straight into my soul. I used to get shivers down my spine when I was in other parts of the gallery, the kind that come with the feeling that you are being watched. Logically I knew that it was impossible, I told myself over and over again that there was no way he wasactuallywatching me. That I was just working myself up over nothing, that superstition and childish thoughts were getting the better of me. It worked for a little while, but the feeling that his eyes were always on me never really went away. I don’t know why I didn’t put him back in storage then and forget all about him. It would have been infinitely more sensible than carrying on spending my evenings looking at him. The things that I had thought about doing with my nights I never got around to, the books I wanted to read were left in a pile at the end of my desk, all thoughts of learning to paint blown away like dust, and it was all because of that stupid painting.
The one thing I had started doing was flicking through some of the old log books. I had been correct in my initial thoughts about those things. Some of the dates didn’t even have comments in them! The entries were literally the date and a signature. There would be the occasional note about a rat finding its way into the sugar packets, or a pigeon getting into the building and having to be shooed out with the broom, but rarely anything more interesting than that. I don’t honestly know what else I was expecting. One entry, dated 1980 records the discovery of a broken window on the second floor, and the fact that the night manager had boarded it up so that the ‘art would be protected from the harsh winter elements’. I had to laugh at that one, boarding up a window not because it really needs to be done, but because of the possibility that a window an entire floor above the main gallery might let in excess cold or moisture and as such damage paintings. Reading that entry was good for more than just a laugh though, it told me that the gallery had two floors, something I made a note to investigate at some point. Overall they did make for good reading, it was quite interesting to look at the changes of handwriting over the years, not to mention the differences between the men and the women who had held the position.
Those small books were essentially a history of the gallery, if a slightly verbose and mostly pointless one. It seemed to me that it would have been hugely more sensible to only log significant events like the arrival of new art, or start of a new night managers stint, but it was the way it was, things didn’t change. So, like all the others before me, every night I wrote down what had happened no matter how dull and insignificant. I could never focus on the books for long, I would find myself not finishing the section I was reading, putting the book down and walking towards his corner, sometimes without even realising I was doing it. I just wandered over to look at him again, to stare back at him in the lamplight. Every time my green eyes met his deep pools I felt a twinge of fear, or maybe exhilaration, run through me. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else looking at him felt the same. Eventually I stopped trying to read them at all. It’s not like they were teaching me anything. The last entry I read was dated December 20th1962. It had nothing to say.
More dreams. I returned to being the floating onlooker that I had been when it all started, which was more than likely for the best. It would not do to have Mother worrying more than she was already by that time. If there’s one thing that always panicked her more than my being ill it was my not sleeping well. I have no idea what she thought might happen to me if I missed a few hours sleep, but the idea of it always put her on edge. She never seemed to remember that when she was young she stayed out all night partying with my father and still managed to pull a day at work with less than an hour in bed. I suppose the endless fretting is all part of being a mum. Mostly I did sleep well, even with the dreams. They were rarely anything unnerving. It was almost as if I was a fly on the wall of his day to day life, I saw him eat and meet with guests. On several occasions I watched him playing the cello, I was almost saddened by the fact that I could not hear the music. He looked so passionate whilst playing, be it on his own or with others. I never knew where my mind pulled these scenarios from, I guessed that it must have been from things I had read or watched through my life and forgotten about. After all, they say we only use ten percent of our brains for conscious thought, and the rest is storage that we cannot even access. Anything could be stored away in the corners of my memory without me even knowing it. It didn’t seem unlikely that the dreams came from those places. Once I was able to explain the dreams away with logic, even if it was a little vague, I stopped worrying that they might be a bad thing. I let myself dream the weeks away.