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Leaving Home

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“Bam!” the front door slammed in my face. Catherine quickly sat up and began to reason with us on her brother’s behalf. I will not be told what to do in my own home. It was only moments ago my oldest and dearest son had told my husband and I that he was quitting his apprenticing job. He said he wanted to become and artist. I had such wonderful plans for his life, having a steady job, making a good income and settling down in a few years. Deminicus and I were very clear we do not approve, but that had no affect on my dear Leonardo.

My mind wandered to the loud noises coming from the bustling of people. I could hear bits of conversations, prices being read off from the Florence Market across the street. I could hear the hooves of horses, all trotting at a comfortable pace through the stone streets. The click-clack of high heels that only the wealthy could afford. I have only one pair myself, and they rarely are worn. I began wishing I were like them, their long, flowing gowns in beautiful, embroidered carriages, and men waking beside them, admiring their beauty. “Mother?” Catherine’s voice stopped my train of thought. “Yes?” I whispered, wishing I did not have to hear another minute of her speeches. It had been a week since Leonardo had left. Pope Julius II has chosen this chapel to be painted by Leonardo. He is working not as a scribe, assistant, or helper… not an admirable job, but as a painter. He sent a letter yesterday describing the chapel he will be painting. “Painting is a servants job! Leonardo Da Vinci a painter? A smart boy like him should have a respectable job.” Deminicus had yelled. It will be called the Sistine Chapel.

Disappointment and abandonment had been the most dominate emotions I have felt in the past month, but a new emotion hit me- fear. A new fear, a fear not for my son, but for Deminicus. He had fallen ill a few days ago and he has been the only thought in my mind since. My old emotions have been temporarily set aside. I we have done all we can for him, but nothing has helped. Could this be the evil Black Plague that has swept through the continent? Yes- it must be the Black Plague. There is no other answer. I sat on a log in front of our small two- room home, a slow tear falling down my cheek. These tears have been long held in, and now that this lid has been opened I cannot constrain myself. More tears and sudden, painful sobbing began. I took me a moment to realize these tears were for both my husband and my son. “Mother, please do not worry.” Catherine’s small voice filled my head. I could not possibly respond at this point, for it seemed I had lost all control over my sobbing body. I knew as well as she did it was over, the battle already lost. “What is it that worries you? Father?” no reply. “Leonardo?” I hid my face behind my long, straggled deep brown hair. “Father will be fine! This illness will pass!” A skeptic look on my face formed, but was soon replaced with my earlier fearful expression. “And as for Leonardo,” she continued, “He loves you mother, but he has a great passion for his art. He has an inspiration and drive that cannot be held in!”

That was when the high-pitched, blood-curdling screech came from the back room in my home. Before I knew what was happening my body was already in action. I darted inside, and ran as fast as my legs could carry me to our bedroom. Then I saw my husband, lying there, slowly turning a deep gray color. His toes and legs were a full black while his stomach became a light gray. I threw myself onto him, wrapping my arms around him as though I could stop this disease from claiming his body. His eyes were closed, body still. I sat there and watched him- slowly drifting into death.

A few people from the town stopped to stare at Catherine and I lifting my husband’s lifeless body to the burial grounds in a long box. Since the epidemic, it had become more of a pile than a place of burial. I kissed my had, and pressed it to the wooden box, saying a short prayer for him. I turned away and went back to the house, tripping over my floor length gown. I would soon travel to Rome, to the Sistine Chapel, to tell Leonardo of his father’s death. Catherine would stay home, and I was to go alone.

I could never forget my first glimpse at the ceiling of the lovely chapel. It was not nearly done, but what looked like angels lined the ceiling. Leonardo ran to me, and grasped me in his arms. “Leonardo Da Vinci!” I squealed in pure delight as he took me up in his arms. “Mother!” He spoke with as much joy as I felt now. “Oh how I have missed you mother. So much has happened. First…” I stopped listening as I looked up and examined the lovely mural. “They even---“ I cut him of, “You did this?” I asked with astonishment. “Yes mother.” He said slowly, surprising himself. “Oh, dearest son I believe I owe you a great apology. This is the most amazing, astonishing, delightful piece of art I have ever seen!” I exclaimed. “You like it?” he asked- clearly questioning my sanity. “Oh I love it! I must visit when it is complete!” And, so the rest of the day continued, sitting on the floor of the chapel discussing the lovely ceiling. I decided to save bad news to later tomorrow. I was so very mistaken. This is what my son was meant to do. This is who he is and why he was put on this earth. It was shameful to come between this wonderful gift my son was born with. I have never been so very proud and simply delighted in all my life. I will miss my husband terribly, and will miss my son wile he follows this dream, but I seen now this is how things were meant to be. This is his place in life, and I could not be happier for him.




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