Home > PRISM Online > Second Runner-Up: “Gravity” by Priscila Uppal

I wanted to write a short story where this woman was in love with a painting—not in awe, or enamoured, but actually in love, deeply—as if the painting and the woman had been separated at birth and never felt quite right in their own skins.

And the painting was in love with her too, but had no way of communicating its relief at finally finding its rightful place in the world six feet in front of her.

And this painting was not of a man or woman, or even a bridge or tree, but was a series of straight lines that appeared static to everyone except the woman who understood the lines were letters addressed to her.

She wrote letters back. Yes, love letters. And when the gallery was open, she left them on the cushions of her bench. And when the gallery was closed, she slipped them underneath the door.

These were picked up by a security guard, who fell deeply in love with the woman who only had eyes for the painting.

Oh, I forgot, the painting and the short story were both called Gravity.

I imagined the security guard stealing the painting so the woman would one day track him down and attach herself to him.

But she stopped going to the gallery, the way lovers stop loving without know why, the sharp pain of initial separation spreading out like a long line, thinner and thinner, until it becomes invisible to the naked eye.


Priscila Uppal Author Photo Daniel Ehrenworth Seated 2012 (3)

Priscila Uppal is a Toronto poet, fiction writer, memoirist, essayist, playwright, a Professor of English at York University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Among her critically acclaimed publications are ten collections of poetry, most recently, Sabotage, Traumatology, & Ontological Necessities (Griffin Poetry Prize finalist); the novels The Divine Economy of Salvation and To Whom It May Concern; the study We Are What We Mourn: The Contemporary English-Canadian Elegy; the memoir Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother (Writers’ Trust Hilary Weston Prize and Governor General’s Award finalist); and the collection of short stories Cover Before Striking. For more information visit priscilauppal.ca. (Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth).