Do you ever wonder why your eyes travel across the walls of people’s living rooms when you visit them?
You are ushered into the room and as soon as you sit, you start looking around seeing the pictures on the walls, the color of the wall, where they place the wall clock, and their calendar and you stop only you when you meet their eyes.
It’s odd what your eyes make you do.
I have been struggling with a throat infection partly due to my reluctance to give up anything sweet, so I went to visit a friend yesterday. She welcomed me into their house. It’s a big three bedroom house with a front porch that’s to die for-and tall glass windows that remind me of those penthouses you see in action packed films. Seriously, why do the fights involve someone being thrown through a glass door or window that had nothing to do with the fight in the first place? I digress.
Okay, so, their house is one of those destination homes that are the kryptonite to travelers like me. Once inside, I found myself doing what I’ve always done since I was four and that’s looking around. You can tell a lot about people, like in campus I knew my crush was an Arsenal fan because of the pictures of Arsenal players and not the mat or the duvet, but it was enough to warrant a ‘let’s be friends,’ conversation. You can guess how many people are there in that family, or how many graduated if they have endless pictures of graduation photos, and if they love art or not. But, what I was not prepared for was a painting next to the picture of Jesus – you know the blue eyed, slicked back long black hair, red robe, red lips, and a heart surrounded by thorns.
This was a painting of an African man sitting on a three legged stool, smoking from a pipe. His hair was white, way beyond grey, and he had his genitalia and scrotum hanging out as he sat on that stool- and I was tempted to ask, ‘Lord are you seeing this?’
But, my friend came back with soda and she found me staring and I was forced to ask about the painting. “It’s my dad’s painting, he used to paint years ago before he joined the Ministry, he calls it, ‘Man.’ Everyone who comes here is always shocked by it.”
“Yeah, they would, the man is displaying his goods right beside Jesus!”
“And Jesus is displaying his heart, it is weird indeed, but I always tell people not to look.”
“How can they do that when the painting has already left an impression?”
“I mean people should not look around, they might be disappointed by what they see in people’s homes.”
I took a sip of my soda but for the next four hours my eyes kept going back to the Man and Jesus, back and forth, like a sniper training her eyes on a target, and when I left there, I ran into an old man by the road with white hair, sitting on a bench, and God help me, I swore never to look at people’s walls.