Iridescence by Peter Bruun, pastel & ink on paper, 15″ x 11″, 2019

On the anniversary of his daughter’s death from an accidental overdose, a drawing with writing by Peter about that day.

She fell and we fell: you and me collapsed in our room at the Lake Point Inn, bawling, I still smell that floor, carpet mingled in musk and grind, you and me there, our bodies inside out. We touched. We wanted our fingertips to fix each other, to heal. We touched. For we did not know what else to do. Our baby.

Once I dreamed of a bleeding cornfield, red and black. Everyone is dead. “Everyone is dead! Everyone is dead!” I keep crying, unbelieving. The cornfield is within a painting hung on the wall across the way in the foyer of my father’s home from childhood. It distracts me, the yellow ochre stalks oozing red and black. It takes my mind from the dying of all whom I love, and I step toward it in fascination, moving in close to the pooling reds and widening blacks.

After a while, from some deep place of wisdom, you suggested it would be good to move our bodies; to go ahead and cross-country ski, as we had been getting dressed to do when we got the call. It felt impossible, but somehow our bodies obeyed.

I look at the reds, I look at the blacks, and those blacks are not black, for in those blacks, shimmering with iridescence, are the most beautiful colors I have ever seen. I woke up. 

Sun washing across snow-covered Deep Creek Lake on this perfect crystalline day, the worst day of my life, my daughter dead. She was dead. She was dead, and we made our bodies move. And as we moved, one painful motion at a time, I looked up. There, dancing in the air, in the sparkling light, were the most beautiful colors I had ever seen, shimmering in the white with the iridescence of a dream.

Elisif Janis Bruun, March 20, 1989 – February 11, 2014