The little girl with her back to you.
She's heard the call of something that has transformed her forever. Did it start after she took the plunge, after she discovered delights and complexities she didn't think could ever exist? Or was it something that, unknown to her, controlled her movements, propelling her across broken roads and fields of ash?
It ripples through her, forming balls of cast iron in her stomach, causing her eyes to dart frantically in every direction conceivable except the direction she most wants to turn her face towards. It does something to her mouth, her words, her voice - they become alien to her, they rise out of her body, and slip into one of those impossibly bright, impossibly fast, impossibly loud, probably empty cars that have not yet been invented rolling contentedly up concrete slopes: blank, focused, blank. It does something to her movements: she becomes tense, tense to the point of tightness, yet she can never be still. Hands have to move, legs have to move, hips have to move, even fingers...anything, just anything, because stillness seems incongruous.
Why doesn't she take the final step - a step that would plunge her into a world unknown, unsought, undreamt? Perhaps she knows that she will find pain and pleasure beyond her imagination there, but never fulfilment. Apparently there comes a time in everyone's life when they know what they want: fear, ambition, morals, none of these can distort it. That has not happened to her yet and there is nothing she can do, she feels, except wait.
A rough wooden table, candlelight, work, banality, ordinariness, goldfish in the bowl syndrome, love, security, contentment, family.
No, she is not ready to leave the painting, because of a whisper: a whisper quieter, softer, and (she hopes) stronger than the call. The hint of a promise, the promise being nothing more than a fleeting and unextraordinary moment imprisoned by eternity, having escaped those gentle and persuasive hands of time