It started that evening with a confession and ended with a collaborative, newly painted landscape, on a reclaimed canvas, with a note on the back that you wrote months before only to remember when it fell out of your hands a week after…
You needed to piddle.
When he arrived, you sat on the iron bench that rocks, surrounded by the things that bring you joy: the mandolin of your father to the east; a notebook, pens of various widths, and a mason jar full of new paint pens to your west; a fire in the chimenea to your north; the weaved support of iron and outdoor cushions to your south. Your circle is small and full of inspiration you desire to tap into. Inspiration that loosens that knot in your lower back.
He walks into your backyard where you sit, surrounded.
He sits next to you after jostling and relocating the western items on the iron bench.
Your relationship evolved over the last three years. From tinder matches, to a box of matches in your sacred space. He tells you a story, riddled with the shame of generations of men… the inadequate father tale. You relate to this in a variety of ways as his story unfolds and your reaction is to go full mama-bear-mode, even though you’re technically childless.
You recover, and I do my best to provide the let-loose-piddle we desire and run upstairs to grab a canvas. It’s on a somewhat substantial stack. It’s the stack of original pieces that I painted over. The canvas I grabbed is a fuchsia-magenta color that I love. (I also recently discovered I like the color pink — I’m thirty-eight.)
I race back down the stairs and plop into the space left open for me on the iron bench. I say… “Want to use my new paint pens to take turns drawing on this sucker and not communicating about it and then communicating after we finish?”
He did. So, we did.
I asked him if he wanted to go first.
He didn’t. So, I did.
I began by picking my initial color palette and then I closed my eyes and immediately saw the mesas of the American southwest, so I sketched that onto the magenta-like canvas with my new paint pens. Then, I passed him the jar. We repeated this cycle for several rounds.
I saw an image before my first stroke, but we arrived at a place where our color palette combined, accentuated and made a clear image on the canvas — to me.
I announced: “I think I’m good after your next round. Then let’s tell each other what we see now and saw as we drew.”
He agreed. So, we did.
Two more rounds and we put our freshly used paint pens back in the mason jar. I asked him to go first.
He said he saw a single flower blooming amongst the desolate desert landscape; “It stands out because it's the only one.”
I said I saw a woman standing by herself on a porch in the desert valley, close to the mesas. Lassoing in all the grains of sand the winds can offer.
I admitted our visions were unspokenly similar in their spoken difference.
We moved past the canvas, and the next day I moved it to a pile of art and artifacts in my office. A week later, the winds of autumnal change came whipping down the plains and I decided to organize my art-i-fact piles.
As I haphazardly grabbed a stack of stuffs, a single fuchsia-magenta-like canvas flew out, facedown. I already knew what was on the front, but I forgot what I’d written on the back. What’d I’d written regarding the first thing I created, that I eventually painted over.
Staring back at me from the collage of cleaning on my office floor, written in pencil:
there’s perfection in the “imperfect”
After the fall, I audibly laughed and then felt a moment of panic. I grabbed a green pen from my mason jar of recently purchased paints and wrote:
Revisited + the date and our initials, like a kid carving a tree.
We danced to Van Morrison that night under the moon. And while we tangentially created and appreciated the blossomed woman, the fact still remains; she stands alone.
Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.