Just BE YOU

Sitting on the bed next to her mom she found herself surprised by the compelling image her mom was creating. She was immediately drawn to the naked woman who stood slightly to the lower left side of the paper. The colors infused the woman with movement, as though she was dancing. Bold blossoms encircled the naked image, bringing the whole scene to life, vibrancy, beauty, celebration. “Wow mom, that’s amazing,” exclaimed Francine. “Thank you sweetie. I’m having a lot of fun! I forgot how much I love to create and play with art,” Rita joyfully stated. “Would you like to join me,” she invited Francine. 

Together they got Francine all set up to start her own art piece. The music lyrically filled the space while they quietly squished color onto the white space. The desire to share the truth was caught in both their throats, how do they discuss such a bizarre “not possible,” yet, it does exist situation? As Rita rounded out one of the new blossoms on her page, she broke the silence, “Francine, were you in my bedroom yesterday?” Francine kept her eyes glued to the paper below her, as she inhaled and answered honestly, “yes, I came in to use the bathroom, because Frank was in the other one.” “Did you pick up that magazine,” asked Rita, pointing to the glossy publication on her night stand. “Yes, I did,” slid out of Francine’s mouth in a barely audible sound. “It’s okay Francine, I’m not mad, I just wondered what you saw in the magazine when you opened it,” inquired Rita in a calm tone. 

Francine finally popped. She dropped her art and turned to her mom with confused eagerness and vulnerability. “Mom, it talked to me. Am I crazy,” she screeched at her. A smile spread across Rita’s face as she pulled her daughter in for a hug and kissed her forehead. “No, you are not crazy, I don’t think,” she laughed. “It happens to me too. That’s why I bought it.” “I can’t stop thinking about it, but, I was afraid to tell you I had looked at it, since it was in your room and not mine to look at,” Francine genuinely shared. “You know I don’t keep secrets or hide things from you and Frank, we all deserve privacy and to have our space respected as we’ve all talked about. However, the magazine was sitting out in the open, I can totally see why you were curious. It caught my attention at the store, so I get it,” Rita stated with a light chuckle. 

“Did it talk to you in the store,” Francine asked with excited curiosity.

“Yes, I almost dropped it on the floor when I first opened it. Everyone in line stared at me, because I gasped when it first typed a question to me. It was crazy! I thought I was losing my mind. By the time I got to the cashier, it had asked me another question. I couldn’t believe it,” she elaborated with joy. It was exciting to have someone else know. 

Francine giggled, “I bet that was really freaky! How long have you had it mom? Is it why you searched for your art boxes and have now started to do art again? What does it ask you?” She had so many questions gurgling up.

“Whoa, slow down, I can only answer one question at a time. Plus, I am really curious what it said to you as well,” Rita chuckled, going into a full response. “To answer your questions, yes, it is why I dug out my art supplies and presently sit here doing art which I haven’t done since before your brother was born. It has me really thinking about my life, who I am, what I love to do, what makes me happy, and too many things to even list.”

“That’s what it did to me too,” exclaimed Francine. “It first asked me if I was happy, then it went into my friendships and what I like to do. Mom, it was so weird. I felt like it knew what I was feeling, not just what I was saying,” exploded Francine, her voice rising in volume and intensity. A part of her wanted her mom to make it all better, to ease the internal struggle she felt, to tell her what to do. Inside she knew that her mom could not do any of that, but, the little girl in her did not want to deal with the confusion the magazine stirred up emotionally.

Rita softly replied to her daughter’s ramble, hoping to calm her unsettled emotional state, “I know, the magazine doesn’t hold any punches, it digs right into the heart and soul. It has me all twisted up as well. Making me really look at my life, explore why I have chosen to give up on things, why I just go through the motions of everyday, waiting for things to change, versus going for it. It is truly bizarre how it not only hears your responses, it feels your emotions. I agree that it makes you feel exposed and vulnerable, like you can’t hide.”

Francine leaned her head onto her mom’s shoulder, wanting to just feel safe and okay for a few minutes. The magazine had really rocked her world, for it was making her look at everything, especially how she acted with friends. “Mom, it questioned me about my friendships. Making me realize that I don’t truly show my friends who I am for real. It also has me thinking about what I truly like to do, questioning all the stuff I now do, because I think I have to. I am so lost and confused right now.” 

“I understand sweetie. me too,” replied Rita as she gently caressed her daughters head. “One of the things that has helped me is to write about it in my journal and today to let myself do some art. As I do these things it gives me time to process all that the magazine and I have talked about. I am actually so glad you picked it up, cause now I know it works for other people too. Makes me feel a little less crazy.” 

“Hey mom, I wondered what the magazine will do if we look at it together,” asked Francine. 

“Hmmm…, that’s a good question,”responded Rita. “Let’s try it out.”

Picking it up off the nightstand, Rita had her daughter hold one side, while she held the other. Gently they lifted back the cover. Unbeknownst to the other, they were both holding their breath in anticipation. 

“Hello you two,” quipped the magazine. 

“Hi,” they responded in duo harmony.

“Yes, we can talk with two of you at a time, however, that is the maximum we can do. If there are more, it becomes too many voices, emotions and thoughts,” typed the magazine.

Rita and Francine looked at each other with big smiles and happy hearts, they were not alone anymore. 

To be continued… 12

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