Six years ago, my grandmother bought a copy painting of Mona Lisa. She hung it on the wall of one of the bedrooms in her house. It was beautiful, just like the original. My mother and I stared at it for a long time. It seemed to communicate with us somehow. I can't explain it.
A year later, my mother died and I became very lonely. I was 17 then, and didn't want to stay alone, so I moved into my grandmother's place. My grandmother gave me the room which had the Mona Lisa painting hanging on the wall.
The first night, I lay in bed and stared at the painting for a long time. The longer I stared at it, the eerier her smile became—her smile seemed to widen somewhat. I gasped in horror when I saw her lips move. Immediately, I turned on my side and placed a pillow over my head. Then I began to pray. I don't know how long I prayed. I guess until I fell asleep.
Every night, I faced the Mona Lisa because the wall was just a few feet away from the foot of my bed. I got used to her and her eerie smile, and soon, I was able to sleep soundly even with her staring and smiling at me.
But one particular night, things changed—I heard something. There were words coming out of the painting. “An, my An,” it said. My eyes just opened wide, and I felt a cold tingle going through my body. I rushed out of bed and ran out of the room. My grandmother was sound asleep at the time. I didn't want to wake her up, so I sat on the sofa in the living room and began praying. When I was calmed enough, I thought about the words that I had heard and convinced myself that they were only in my head. With a little reservation, I walked back to my room and jumped into bed without looking at the Mona Lisa. I pulled the sheets up over my head and I prayed some more. I prayed until I fell asleep.
In the morning, I told my grandmother about it, but she didn't believe me. I didn't have a choice but to psych myself that it was all a dream. Almost every night for eight months I heard the same thing—“An, my An.”
I was very scared that I slept with the light turned on. As time went on, I got quite used to it. I became bold enough that one night at one o'clock I walked straight up to the painting and asked, “What do you want?” I felt empowered by my new found boldness that I shouted at her. “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” Suddenly, I noticed something glistening at her left eye. I looked closer and was shocked to see a tear forming. It rolled down her cheek. She was crying! I couldn't believe it. I realised then that the painting was haunted.
I decided to get some help. I looked in the newspaper for a psychic. I saw an advert of a psychic who was practicing near my town. I called her. She sounded friendly and “normal”, so I made an appointment to meet her in two days' time.
I was afraid to enter the shop. It looked eerie—there was a pentagram at the door which disturbed me a little. I was about to turn away from the door when I saw a figure move at the window. A short woman was behind the glass window and beckoning me to come in. She looked friendly enough, so my fears faded, and I walked to the door. It opened, and the woman introduced herself. “Hi, I'm Julia. Don't be afraid, An Mary.”
I was shocked. How did she know my name was An Mary? I remembered introducing myself on the phone only as An.
“I sense things, you know? That's why I know you were standing outside and was afraid to come in. And I know your name is An Mary because…er, well, it's a common name.” She said with a wide friendly smile.
I didn't say anything. I just smiled and walked in. She offered me tea, which I gladly accepted. I took two sips and looked around the house. It was warm and cozy; nothing like the eeriness outside.
“So, what is bothering you, young lady?” she asked as she handed me the cup of tea.
I paused for a moment because I really didn't know how to begin. I put my cup down on the table and looked up at her. I thought I would just say it like it is, so I told her everything that had happened—from the beginning to the end. She listened and nodded without saying a single word.
I waited for her to say something but she didn't; she simply looked at me as if I had just made up a story. Then, she asked me if somebody in my family had recently died. I said, “Yes, my mom.” She said the voices I was hearing could me my mom's.
Julia took out some crystals; they were of many different colours, and were beautiful. She tossed them on the table top and looked at the precarious arrangement with deep concentration. I looked at her, wondering what she was seeing. When she looked up, she sighed. “You have to discard the painting,” she said, then looked up at me.
I thought for a moment about my grandmother. She loved the painting and I was sure she wouldn't let me just throw the painting away.
“You mother's soul is not in peace. Is it true that whenever you looked at the painting, you think of your mother?” Julia's eyes shifted from my left eye to my right eye and then back to my left again.
I realised she was right. I did always thought of my mom because when I saw the painting for the first time, I saw it with her. I did feel kind of sad at the time, but didn't really think much about it. Now I remember clearly feeling that sadness about my mother as we looked at the Mona Lisa together. I really couldn't explain why, but I did.
I asked Julia if she could tell me why I had felt that way. Julia closed her eyes and touched the crystals with both palms and took two deep breaths. When she opened her eyes, she looked at me and smiled a fraction.
“Your mother felt the same thing about you when she saw the Mona Lisa. You both felt the same sadness for each other. Your mother feels she has to protect you from your sadness that's why she has followed you. She is here right now. I can sense her, and I can hear her thoughts,” Julia said.
I wasn't very happy to hear that; I wanted my mom to go to heaven and be at peace. I didn't want her hanging around on this earth like all the other lost souls that I keep hearing about.
“Do you want to say something to your mother, An?” Julia asked in a soft tone.
I just burst out crying. “Mom, I love you and I miss you so much, but you must go to heaven, please. I am fine. I really am.”
There was silence and a sense of peace after I said that. Julia said nothing; she just looked at me. Our eyes connected, and she leaned over and wrapped her arms around me. "Everything is going to be fine," she said.
When I got home, I explained the situation to my grandmother, and surprisingly, she understood.
“I've been having dreams since you started to stay here, An. Dreams about your mother. She tells me to take care of you and listen to you. She says you are very lonely, and I believe her.” My grandmother said with a tear rolling down her cheek.
After we got rid of the Mona Lisa, my grandmother never dreamt of my mother again—except occasionally some happy dreams. I too became a lot happier knowing my mother has gone somewhere she will be happy.