Friday, February 17, 2012

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

I am patronized by her face, by her eyes. She's at an unreachable distance right now, and at times, I can feel my heart become overwhelmed with frustration and desire. Just look at her! Mesmerizing in emotional portrayals, intelligent and talented; she's the crème de la crème of what the perfect woman can be. And in a wake of wantonness, I struggle to stay afloat in my mind's flood of projections and longing.

Why, oh why can she not feel what I feel? How do I subconsciously prove to her I'd be the special man in her life she's expressed yearning? In a fit, my emotions stomp and flurry around inside my chest each time I see her, and my screams for attention go unnoticed as if I'm trapped inside a soundproof cube of glass. Her world scurries around her as does mine; a chaotic dance of parts and responsibilities that swirl and clash, and all I want to do is brush them aside.

And with everything in perpetual slow-motion and the distractions falling to the ground around us, we'd finally be able to make that silent connection. We'd approach other and exchange looks that say we're both anxious, satisfied, and excited. No words would be spoken. We'd just suddenly, totally understand. Our lives would change and become that much more enriching. We'd spend as much time together as we could with each passing minute being more quality than the last. The move from infatuation and curiosity to pure love would be as smooth as pouring paint from a can. That love would be whole and unbreakable. She and I would completely know that our souls are now one having been enhanced in a way they never could have been without the other.

Are you able to feel what I feel? Right yourself at this dizzying moment of your life and see the subtle hints I've expressed. I know they are there, it was with purpose that I left them behind. Never has a moment passed that my attempts to connect were without the sole purpose of expressing my hope and true feelings. And I know in my heart of hearts, we'd make an incredible pair.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), is the stunning and beautiful painting of a wealthy woman from Vienna, Austria. Using oil and gold on canvass, Klimt weaves together a sense of hurry, sophistication, style, and fragility all at once which dazzles the eye and mind. Surrounded by implied movement, varying shapes, thin brush strokes, and bold, bright colors is the pale skin of a gorgeous woman lending momentary relief. Focusing closer, one begins to notice her expression, her lips, and her gentle eyes furthering the sensation of peace amidst havoc. This piece has long been heralded as iconic for the art nouveau philosophy and is one of the most duplicated and expensive paintings in the world.

I am struck by a sense of attraction, curiosity, and even pity as I take in this portrait. Immediately, I notice her beauty and delicate frame, and my desires to be in a relationship are inflamed. Then I notice her face and the look in her eyes and wonder if she's okay; if she's feeling something she wants to express but doesn't feel she can. Finally, I find her humble pose in striking contrast to the wild environment she's in and I want to pull her away, I want to help her find relief from the choking vividness in which she does not appear to be comfortable. This painting--for lack of a better way to put it that's not cliche--is haunting to me.

In the same way, when you see someone for whom you are suddenly overwhelmed with attraction, it can often be muddied by a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. Like the dancing colors, shapes, and lines, in the middle is the heart of that person you may not know very well but can certainly feel an immediate connection. The world around both of you clogs your ability to express your feelings, and you're left with nothing but frustration and a muted heart that cannot be rescued. It's agonizing, it's unfair, and it leads to unrequited conviction you fear may never be answered.

There is no reason to lose hope, I say! Being an example of someone most people overlook or misunderstand, I know all too well what it's like to know deep down that a woman to whom I am attracted would find everlasting appreciation and dedication in me. Much like this two-dimensional painting of a woman I can sympathize with and towards, I am unable to remove her, to embrace her and help her understand that it's going to be okay; you're going to be okay. At a distance I cannot surpass, she has no idea at which lengths my passion for her stretches and that's just it! It's merely distance! Nothing is holding me down but my own fears of rejection. No, I cannot control her mind or her heart but I can control my own. And this is where we as humans are separate from inanimate objects of desire. We're capable of taking risks and we're not bound to an immovable canvas. My only hope is that my meticulous efforts here won't go unnoticed.


  1. This seemingly unreachable woman is closer to you than you think. She's soft and cautious, quietly embracing every word which has any connection to you. Her plight is one in which she knows how she feels, though she's unsure of reciprocation. The very thought of only a one-way fascination is terrifying.

    A quote from one of her favorite books seems fitting. It discusses how the main character has a female love interest who, although she is a profound pianist, has never played the piano in front of him. As the woman ultimately learns to trust the man, she finally builds up the courage to play the piano for him.

    "The music broke from the piano like clear cold water from a prophet-touched rock, pouring and splashing around us while her fingers leaped and spread, curled and stiffened and melted and flickered in magic pass and streaked lightning above the keyboard. Never before had she played for me... because we were lovers now, was she free to play...?"

  2. What if a woman were to look at a man and feel this way and what if the man can never ever want her except to satisfy himself for a minute? How would the woman come out of that obsession?

    1. Much like the rest of us: through great pain. Human emotion is a good thing, but can certainly trip us up when we let it control too many of our choices and actions, especially when the ends are far more valued than the means. If she were to live for today rather than tomorrow, she'd be ahead of the game.