I look now, over at your table, that beautiful old oak table, with the carved legs, and I know you are being so tolerant, your space covered with scraps, crumbs, and frustrated piles of broken frames and dusty matt boards. I know you understand. You always come last. I don't know why you put up with it.
Because you deserve so much more. As soon as I give you even a second of my time and attention, you give back so much more, fighting against me and my stupid excuses and short attention span. I always think, god, this is going to be awful, and true, sometimes we don't click. But over the years, I've learned I can rely on you. I know that if I just shut up and give you some ink and some paper, some watercolor, you will take over. I love to witness this. When I sink in and let go, when I finally give you the time and space and stop nagging and expecting, when I can finally just be with you, then the most amazing things happen.
From out of nowhere, visions appear on the paper in front of me, flowing out, out of control, and I see that you are telling me something, something about me, about my life. So I soften, I give in. I start to listen. The story unfolds and tells me something I couldn't see. Sometimes I get greedy and I want more answers, more magic, more flash. You sigh and let me over-do it. I always see later that you were right. I don't have to try so hard.
Afterwards, subtly, I feel better. Not like a toothpaste commercial, where everything is suddenly bleached and shiny and perfect. I still have my bed head, still have that endless "to do" list, still feel aggravated by my kids, guilty that I took time away from them to be with you.
I know you need me too. I know when I feel confused, angry or depressed that you are trying to get my attention. And I hate you in that moment. I look that table, the crusty bottles of ink and unsharpened pencils and the last thing I want to do is spend time with you. I feel obligated, I think its going to suck, and it seems pointless anyway, why bother?
"Just organize the supplies," you say, "clean the brushes. That's all I ask." I'm on to that trick, by the way.
But it works. I think, "maybe I'll just make some colored papers to use some other time. Maybe I'll just mess around." And then you suck me in.
I love you for that.