Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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36 pastels.

I think some made the mistake of gauging how much they were loved by the number that was displayed on the box of Crayola crayons.

I don’t remember my first number. I suppose it was 12. Possibly 24. It certainly wasn’t the biggest box with the flip top and the built in sharpener. Those were way too expensive. But what I do remember is the waxy scent of possibility. I remember holding each crayon in my hand. The smooth paper wrapper against my fingers. How each color felt different and demanded a certain touch. There was a necessary combination of gentleness and strength. The crayon had to be within control, but not gripped too tightly, or it would crack in the middle. Such a delicate dance to put image on paper.

I can’t count the number of times I made a picture for my mother. Or the number of times she clutched her imaginary pearls in delight. The number of times I hugged her knees as she hung the images on the refrigerator. The beats of love that continue in my heart to this very day. This is what I count on.

It’s probably not a surprise that I still love it. That I am what I am.

For Christmas one year, my brother-in-law gave me a box of pastels. I didn’t count them. I don’t even know what sizes they actually come in. But I knew that I was seen. That I was loved. And joyfully, there are still no numbers for this.