All Thanks to Mr. Kush
Everyone has a different reaction when they walk through my front door. Some people don’t notice the eight-foot-long painting on the left hallway wall; Others do. Some people notice it but don’t care, others try to step back as far as they can to see the whole thing. But some don’t see it at all. The painting wasn’t always invisible, though.
A few years ago, it was the first thing you saw when you walked through the door of my family’s house in New Rochelle. You couldn’t not see it–you practically got smacked in the face with surrealism. You’d walk through the door, into the marble-floored foyer and across from you was this behemoth of a painting staring at you, demanding your gaze. Then, the closer you got, the more you understood its beauty. The leaves flying off the hand-like tree turning into butterflies. The waves that are really just cloth. Are those shells or snails with human flesh?
The joy of watching people examine this painting for the first time almost equaled the joy it brought me everyday. The painting became a symbol of my first home, my childhood. I never thought that one day I would come to resent that symbol.
The painting came into my childhood home for the first time on my father’s fortieth birthday. It was a present from my mom. They had both seen the painting on a recent trip to Florida and fell in love with it, sparking an idea in my mom’s head for a very special birthday gift. It stayed on that same wall, in that same foyer, for nearly ten years.
Then, in the midst of my departure to college and my parents’ particularly nasty divorce, the house was sold and the painting would find a new place to live. But when it came time to formally split up assets, my father didn’t want the painting. I guess it reminded him too much of that house he bought for the perfect life he always wanted–the life he never truly got.
My mom ended up keeping the painting, but was then presented with the issue of where to store it. She lived in a studio apartment, and there just wasn’t enough wall space. So she opted for her storage unit. This endlessly saddened her. She hated wrapping up such beauty in a blanket and storing it in a cold, dark room. It didn’t deserve that type of treatment.
She seriously thought about selling it. “At least someone else will be able to appreciate it. It’s not doing anyone any good being stored away like that,” she said. But she never could sell it. Then the answer to her problem came. I was tired of living in the dorms, so I found an even cheaper apartment nearby. And since my new apartment was in Brooklyn, there was enough space for it… but just barely.
The only available wall was in the very narrow entranceway. You couldn’t really appreciate all it had to offer, but at least it was up, just waiting to be seen. It brought new life to the apartment-even though it brought a piece of my childhood with it. And eventually, I came to terms with that piece, all thanks to Mr. Vladimir Kush.
Other paintings by Vladimir Kush: