The Crucifixion of St. Andrew
By Jillian Bremner
The art museum is quite a curious place. I stood in the main gallery, surrounded by replica horses and figures suited up in Anglican armor and the eerie sounds of Venetian opera. The walls, painted in a warm grey, showcased paintings and pieces of all shapes and sizes, many of which depicted grueling biblical scenes in shades of beige and burgundy, and others that featured mythological characters draped in an ochre toned otherworldly glow. I remember being only fifteen with a canvas tote bag slung over my shoulder and headphones pressed into my ears with a pair of thick soled loafers squeaking across the freshly shined gallery floors. The clump of patrons in front of one of the floor to ceiling paintings dispersed to reveal a rather astonishing work in its entirety. I made my way over to the painting and I could only look up in awe at the grisly scene of who I presumed to be St. Andrew because of the painting’s title printed on its matching card being tied to a wooden cross. There were figures at the bottom of the painting looking up St. Andrew’s sunken and tortured face the same way I was. My sweaty palms gripped the strap of my tote bag. I would never forget how it felt to be so small in the gaze of something that was so big.
The first day of college classes was a day I never thought I would see. After much debate with my family and with myself on whether college was the right fit for me, where I would go, and what I would study, I found myself preparing for my first class of the day on a sweltering Thursday in August. My hair was pulled back in my favorite clip, I had on a comfortable outfit, and a new backpack made of fancy, quilted fabric so everyone on campus would think I was stylish. I remember doing breathing exercises as I zipped my keys into the front pocket of my bag. I was anxious to be around people again after spending a summer taking the simple ten minute commute from work to home and back again, but a part of me was excited too. I had headphones on as I always do as I finally stepped onto the main drag of campus. It was flooded with other students, buzzing around like bees in a hive. I could only stop and stare as I needed a minute to absorb the sudden influx of activity going on around me. I would never forget how it felt to be so small in the gaze of something that was so big.