Just BE YOU

It’s a Family Affair

3

Rita laid in bed listening to the birds, it was nice to hear the sounds of Spring, for she desperately craved some sunshine. Today however, it looked to be another typical rainy cloudy Seattle day. Lying there she thought about all that had happened since she discovered the magazine. The living room was full of art supplies and old creations from a distant past. “What now,” she thought. Then there was Francine, she knew it was time to have that conversation, maybe today while Frank was at his friends house. 

Unbeknown to Rita, Francine was also lying in her bed deep in thought. She had not had the courage last night to tell her mom about looking at her magazine. Thankfully after dinner, they had chosen to watch a movie together. This had been a relief, for she was not yet wanting to share what the page had made her think about. Thankfully all of her friends slept in, so she knew there would be no texts for awhile. Yesterday’s unexpected bizarre experience had her not wanting to talk to anyone. She felt weird. First, she felt vulnerable because she couldn’t pretend with the magazine, which made her aware of how she was not real with her friends. This made her sad and somewhat depressed, realizing that she really did not have close friendships, they were mostly for show. All part of being the popular girl, which she was terrified to mess up. 

As she tossed and turned, her mind went to the time in the living room with her mom and brother going through the art supplies and seeing some of her mom’s art. Replaying the scene in her mind, she recalled how excited her mom was to share stories, to relive past moments. It had been fun. It was a side of her mom she had never seen before.

Looking at her phone, she opened up Facebook to see what her friends had posted. Snapchat was where she typically spent most of her time, but not right now. Sounds trickled into her bedroom from the kitchen. It had to be her mom, for her brother would not be up this early on a Sunday. Glancing around her room she looked at all her pictures on the walls. Favorite singers and bands, places she wanted to visit and a few pictures of her with friends. Her shelves held trinkets that she did not really care about anymore. The only one that mattered and represented who she was, was the award she had received from the school for her choir performance. What made it so special was that peers voted, no teachers or administration, just fellow students. When she was on the stage her nerves would dissipate the minute she began to sing, it filled her with great joy to let her voice rise and fall, imbuing a song with meaning through her interaction with it. Yes, singing was definitely one of her passions, but everyone wanted to sing, how could she ever compete in that world. “Who was she, to ever think she could be successful as a singer,” drifted her thoughts. 

The house had grown quiet while she tossed and turned in her bed. Her mom must have gone back to her bedroom with her cup of tea. She always did that, every morning her mom journaled, she had done that all of Francine’s life, it was a time she liked to be left alone. When she was little, her mom was always awake early so she could write. It struck Francine, “did her mom just write or were there sketches in her journals too? 

Maybe she did not know her mom as well as she thought she did.”

Getting out of bed she headed to the bathroom down the hall. It was in between her room and her brother’s. Her stomach was growling, time to get some breakfast. She always thought it was strange that most of her friends did not eat breakfast. “Hmmm…, she wondered, did Jennifer eat breakfast?” They had never talked about that. She had never gone over to her house for an overnight, nor had she invited her to stay with her. “Why,” she questioned herself, “I don’t know. Maybe I should do that.”

Rita was in her bedroom with her cup of tea, she had tried to journal, but kept finding herself fidgety. The magazine called her from the nightstand where she had left it since she got home yesterday. She needed time, time to digest, to feel, to think. If she opened it, she would have to face whatever it brought up, she wasn’t sure she was ready for that today. Maybe later. “Then what should she do,” her thoughts darted everywhere all at once. Following an internal tug, she headed to the living room. Rummaging through her supplies she found her favorite soft pastels. As she searched for her sketch pad, she admired some of her completed works, filling her arms with her favorites to take to her room. As she walked to her room juggling the full load, she felt pure joy in anticipation of squishing the soft colors onto the paper, letting her muse guide and direct. 

Picking up her phone, she selected her favorite Pandora station, one that was music only,  no words, for songs with words distracted her. Standing her pillows up, she placed the “husband” back rest in place, so she could sit upon her bed, allowing her to spread everything out. Staring down at the blank colorless paper she inhaled deeply, calming her mind to connect with her innermost self. Inquisitively she browsed the pastels, what color beckoned her touch. The rich hues made her smile.  She had forgotten how much she loved color, creating something from nothing, and just purely being in the flow, timelessness with infinite freedom.

Staring at the food in the fridge, Francine decided she would have yogurt with granola and some fruit, since the strawberries looked good. As she cut up a banana and stirred her breakfast, she was curious, what was her mom doing? They had missed each other in passing, for she heard her in the living room while she explored the food choices in the kitchen. It was getting harder and harder to keep the secret. She wanted to interact with the magazine, she wanted one of her very own. 

Rita had heard her daughter in the kitchen, grateful that she could scurry to the living room without coming into contact, she wasn’t ready to interrupt her creative contemplation yet.  Sliding the soft Burnt Sienna pigment down the thick white sheet felt exciting. Rising from within her the spark ignited. Letting herself be called, she selected gooey colors to express upon the blank space a new beginning. The scene below her came alive as the hues wove into a vibrant art piece. 

A soft knock startled Rita into the space. Standing at her open bedroom door stood her daughter. Smiling at Francine, she invited her to come sit on the bed with her. Francine was relieved to see the smile on her mom’s face and couldn’t wait to see what she was creating. This was the first time she had ever witnessed her mom creating for herself. When she and her brother were little, her mom would color with them, but it was not like this, this was different. There was a fun feeling in the room, as though it had come alive. 

To be continued… 11

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