She placed me in the chair that was made out of an old tractor seat. I’m not sure how old I was exactly, but young enough to be placed somewhere, and not move. She pointed to the desk I sat in front of – “Don’t touch anything.” I watched my grandma do the dishes. Her apron waving in the breeze created by the flapping of her upper arms. I began to lose interest in the show and began to look around. So many shiny objects on this desk. I moved my chubby arm just a little and found that I could reach one. I looked at the aproned blur in the kitchen and reached my arm to grab it. The shine of the blade was gone in an instant, replaced by blood red. A razor blade. I squealed and the apron ran towards me. I could barely breathe. “What did you do?” she asked me. I wanted to cry, not because I was in physical pain, but because she was there. She came for me. She held my hand with such tenderness, I believed her when she said, “You can tell me, and I won’t get mad.” What I heard was, ‘You can love me, and it will be ok.”
Seeds were planted, deep inside me, on my grandparents’ farm.
Miles from the fields, others would try to take that trust, that love, away. And for a long time, I believed they could — take it away. For years, it lie dormant. Slowly releasing itself in the freedom of sketchbooks, then canvas, and paper.
When I met him for the first time, we walked from my apartment to the Caribou a block away. We stepped out onto the busy street, no sidewalk. I was nearer the traffic. The first car passed and he took my hand, switching places with me, allowing me the safety of the curb. What I heard was, You can love me, and it will be ok.
I draw something in my sketchbook almost every day. It is not a place for perfection, but a place to grow. It allows me to make mistakes, take chances, become the artist I want to be. And so it is with love.
He brought me home. We hung the painting of my grandparents’ farm in our salon. Something will grow from all of this, and it will be me.