He was my father

Counting Sheep

I have four small black and white photographs my father gave me a couple years before he died. In the photos, I'm sitting at his drafting table, a brush in one hand, my other hand covered in paint, intent on a picture I'm making. I'm shirtless, evidence of a hot night, and about five years old.

I remember one hot Manhattan night, before my father remarried, he and I were lying in his double bed and I couldn't sleep. So, he taught me how to count sheep. I saw them round and wooly jumping over my head.

He remembered one night when he woke up and I was gone.

Panicked, he searched the apartment, and found me at his drafting table, my hands covered in his paints.

He was my father. A man who when he finds his lost daughter painting in the middle of the night, steadies his body against the door jamb and takes a photograph so they will both remember.


Gigi and her dad, the painter Robert Shore, in New York City, 2012. Photo by Erica Berger