The best gift I ever got as a teenager was a set of fine-tipped colored markers. I’d point my clock-radio to the station that played mystery radio theater at 9pm and let my mind run while I got all pink, orange and purple with a giant mandala or tropical fishes. Best thing ever, those pens. They crept into the journal I had started in the 6th grade: narrow-ruled notebook pages clipped into a 3-ring binder, my middle-school and high-school super-emo thoughts penned across faint blue lines, every entry addressed to my dead cat Sheba. The pages were a marker-rainbow, testament to the many-splendored moods of a 14-year old. 36 colors.
The time-before-last that I drove anywhere it was in anger and frustration. Mr. Surly snapped, “Get out of here!” so I did, sneaking out the front door quietly, muffling jangly keys, hoping he’d turn around from manning the juicer and wonder where his soulmate disappeared to. The plan backfired when I got maybe 10 feet from the house, too weak to walk let alone drive, but I was determined to get out of here so I got in the car anyway. Half a block later my whole body was shaking. This couldn’t be safe. I sat breathing heavily in the driver’s seat at the side of the road and hoped my phone would light up with a frantic text calling me back, ready to call it quits on my stupid passive-aggression.
Fast forward. Weeks. Weeks of crying and shivering on the bathroom floor. Weeks at the laptop Googling brain mets and radiotherapy and cachexia and pancreatic enzymes. Weeks of growing weaker, using the bannister to haul my 100-pound body up the stairs. Weeks that bled into months.
Soulmate went to Portland this weekend to dance tango. While he packed I hatched a plan. That leather-bound dragon-embossed journal I bought last month with the handmade paper pages was finally going into action. Except I needed pens. And pencils. Color. Markers. Hey! I know where they have pens! Down the street from my house. A straight shot up 10th Ave. I could drive a mile and a half. With my soulmate not looking and not trying to talk me out of doing something unsafe. I could do this.
So I did. Walked around Dick Blick’s with kid-in-a-candy-store eyes, filling a black plastic shopping basket with colored pencils and fine-tipped markers. Walked slowly, the cashier dude eyeing me like there was a sticky note on my forehead: Cancer Lady. Stood carefully (standing takes more energy than you think), centering my weight over my long thighbones to rest weary muscles. Walked slowly to the car. Take no needless steps. Drive home now, it’s downhill from here.
The box of pastels was in the basement, resting comfortably with oil paints, acrylics, and canvas boards. Greedy fingers blended pinks and reds and purples and oranges into a surprise for Soulmate’s birthday. He’s never seen me do anything arty. Why have I waited? His birthday surprise took shape, rich pastels on paper, a symbol of the Divine Feminine and the love of this woman for that man.
Also taking shape? The resolve to paint more, do art more, draw more. The leather journal’s soft handmade pages begged for more, more, more colors, more pencils, more fine-tipped black outlining pen, more.
And so it was.
Oh, this? This is what I made for my Kahuna for his birthday, which is today. Go wish him happy birthday. Like this piece? I will make one for you, a sacred symbol intuited just for you.