I'd like to share a painting with you - and the short story that it inspired.
I hope you enjoy them both.
She who was famous in life would be famous in death, whilst I, who knew her best, loved her best, would be no more than a bit player in the final scene.
Fools! You would deny me, but I will have my hour. That hour is closer than you think.
I remember with fondness the first day we met.
Her eyes lit up when she saw me. She sashayed her way over to me, politely talking to everyone who was in her path, but never taking her eyes off the prize - me!
How we talked that first meeting, I shamelessly sidled up to her and touched her at every opportunity. She in turn, glowed. This was a match made in heaven.
It wasn't long before we were sharing her house. She had wealth yes, many thought me a gold digger, but honestly, money never came between us. She had what she had and gave what she was capable of. I gave what I was capable of.
Mostly there was love.
I remember how she'd return from a day's acting work and how her tired eyes would come to life when she saw me.
I was her world, she was mine. I'd come to her and knead her shoulders, so full of tension from dealing with those who never understood her. I'd kiss her and she would smile.
'Toots,' she'd say, 'let me have a bath first?'
Toots, the memory makes me smile. That was her pet name for me and mine for her? She was my Cream Puff. Toots and Cream Puff, what a couple we were. Totally in love.
The sycophants never liked me, of course. They saw evil and greed, yet in truth there was only love. They did their best to separate us, but we were stronger than them all.
Only now she is gone and I am alone.
The television is on and I'm watching her funeral.
The hearse is driving slowly through the crowd and fans are weeping, throwing flowers at her coffin. They loved her too. They knew of her love for me and whilst her studio called it mad, they loved her and called our love eccentric. I love those fans, they accepted me once they saw how happy I made her. Why couldn't the studio do the same? My heart breaks for the loss of my Cream Puff. The staff at the house notice how quiet and depressed I am and they avoid me. My world is shattered. The studio hijacked her funeral and I had no legal right to stop them. According to them we did no more than share a house. She had signed contracts with them.
My heart hurt.
The coffin is lifted from the car and taken into the church.
There are readings and personal recollections and much singing that the local cats would be proud of. They mourn in their way, I mourn in mine. Mine is retreat, until the moment that our great love will be revealed to the world.
There's the studio manager, extolling her greatness, the way she lit up the screen with her personality. I hate him, he makes me so mad I could spit. I silently promise him, he'll get his comeuppance.
Cream Puff is now being transported to the stars' graveyard. She'll be interred and it hits me suddenly, I shall see her no more. This last act was not a film scene, but reality. I am indeed alone. A panic rises, would she have kept her word to take care of me? Instantly, I am cross with myself. How could I doubt her love?
A small group break away from the graveside and walk toward a waiting car. The television reporters confirm they are off to the solicitors for the reading of the will. How I wish I could be there to see their faces. I can only trust the reporters will be waiting outside for them.
I pace our bedroom, waiting for the outcome. Why is it taking so long? I need to hear our love spoken aloud, craving that validation.
Suddenly the reporters are squealing. I run to the screen. This is my moment, my hour. The time they realise I was everything to her -as she was everything to me.
There's the studio manager, he has a face like an ice cream vendor sucking on a lemon!
This is great news. A reporter asks him a question and he replies 'no comment' as he roughly pushes by!
The solicitor stands in front of an array of microphones.
He announces the love which was evident throughout our lives together.
'Miss Oldson has left the entirety of her estate to her beloved cat, Toots, to keep him in the comfort he became accustomed to.'
My darling, my Cream Puff. I love you still.