The floorboards sprint to the bottom of the painting. We dig a large hole outside the frame at the point where they all converge; it is a grave piled high with broken coffins. So quickly do these floorboards move. Surely they must carry everything with them.
An old woman sits in a chair, she is holding it to the floor. It is safe. Her life is secure. She will not fall out of this picture. These are our first thoughts. Our second… She is older than we thought. Elegant and composed there is yet something slack about her person; slumped inside herself, her vigour has drained away, we see it swilling around at the bottom of a pestle and mortar. We look more closely; we are looking at her hands: they look swollen - arthritis is conquering her fingers. It is a sign. There is another: the worn but comfortable chair has casters on its legs. It won’t be long before this lady rolls out of this room.
Youth occupies the top of the picture. Here the floorboards are at rest; are securely horizontal. They won’t be going anywhere. Neither will the bed. Attached to the floor, it too is set to stay; as is the young woman that occupies it; her legs are a mountain are a metaphor: she will have to climb up many decades before she may sit in that precarious armchair. She is to live long on the walls of galleries. But…the bed is narrow, it is short; and this woman lies in it in pain. Unhappiness scrambles across a ceiling yet to be painted; we imagine it un-illuminated by a shadeless light bulb.
Thoughts of death dominate this room, and will soon leave it. While life, that permanent presence, lives on, is squeezed, into a space cramped and unpleasant.