Rita finished cleaning up the dinner dishes, while her mind wandered into all the discoveries from earlier in the day. “Why had it taken her so long to come back to her first love, art?” It made her sad to think about all the years she could have been sharing her passion and creative zest with her kids. Her husband would have supported and encouraged her, it might have actually helped to keep a spark in their marriage, for when they met she was still somewhat involved in the art scene. As her mind dug into her own past, she began to explore other people, “who did she know that lived a life aligned with their passions?” Scrolling through everyone she knew with the hope of finding a role model, someone who truly lived and breathed their life passions. Her dad, mom, siblings, friends, other family members, anyone? Finally her memory landed on an uncle that she did not know very well, for he lived in New York, and the family had disowned him for awhile. She learned about him from her mom, when she asked why Uncle William never came to the family gatherings.
William was renowned Opera singer living in New York City. When he came out to his parents in his early twenties they did not accept his lifestyle choice. While they did not completely shut the door on him, they definitely did not include him in invitations, nor allow him to bring his partner to any function. According to her mom, Will created his own adopted family in New York. Gradually his parent’s accepted that he was not going to grow out of living a homosexual lifestyle, however, they never became comfortable with it.
“Hey mom, I put your magazine back on your night stand,” interrupted Francine.
Rita had not realized how deeply she was lost in her own thoughts. “Thank you sweetie,” she replied as she climbed out of the box of memories.
Smiling at her daughter, she reached out an arm to pull her into a hug, with a kiss to her forehead. “Do you want to come to my bedroom for a visit before we tuck in for the night,” asked Rita.
“That would be great mom, I want to tell you about my day and the conversation with the magazine. I also want to hear about all that you are learning because of the magazine,” chirped her daughter excitedly.
Wiping her wet hands on the nearby hand towel, Rita put her arm around her daughter’s shoulders and they walked together to her bedroom.
Propping themselves up on the bed, they excitedly looked at each other, “you go first,” Rita stated as she reached out to touch Francine’s leg with encouragement.
“Oh, before you tell me about your day, I just remembered that you have an Uncle Will that you only met once, he is a well known Opera Singer living in New York City. He is actually your great Uncle for he is your grandpa’s brother. My mom told me that grandpa’s parents struggled with his gay lifestyle, so he wisely chose not to visit or stay in touch much. I just thought you might like to know, since you are such a talented singer. He is a great role model of someone who stayed true to their passions, went for it and succeeded. I don’t know much about him, since my dad, your grandpa, never talks about him. I’m sure that’s because your great grandparent’s reacted so horribly to his sexuality.” Rita shared.
Francine stared at her mom, while she absorbed this news. “Wow, why didn’t you tell me before? I do remember seeing pictures of him in family photos at grandma and grandpa’s house when I was little and I kind of remember him at the funeral. It’s sad that they did not accept him, especially now that they are both gone.”
“It is sad,” agreed Rita. “So, tell me, what happened for you today? How was your conversation with the magazine?”
Taking in a deep breath, Francine smiled and began her story. She told her mom about the list she had made, the cool coincidence that Jennifer sat down next to her for class and how surprisingly easy it was to reach out to new people in choir.
Rita listened with great joy filling her heart. Watching her daughter’s animated happy face, made her spirit dance in gratitude. It was like a fog had lifted in their life, a spark ignited, shining bright light on buried passions and dreams.
“Hey, what are you two talking about,” asked Frank entering the bedroom. His appearance startled both of them. They had been so engrossed in their conversation that they had not heard him come down the hallway.
Recovering quickly from the surprise arrival, Francine quickly responded, “I was telling mom about choir class today.”
“Oh, what about it,” asked Frank.
“Well, I’m trying to get to know more of the people in the class,” Francine jumbled out. Struggling to keep the magazine out of the conversation. She and her mom had not discussed if they would tell Frank or not. So far it was their secret. “Should they tell Frank? Would the magazine work for him too,” she wondered.
“Don’t you already have enough friends,” quipped Frank.
“Yeah, but, I don’t have friends who really enjoy the same stuff as I do. Most of my friends just want to talk about boys, stir up drama, and are all about appearances,” retorted Francine.
“I think it’s awesome that you want to get to know some new people. Especially people who love to sing, like you do. I really missed hanging out with people who were a part of the art scene when I left for college. The business student’s I met were completely clueless to the art world. It felt like a huge part of me just disappeared,” Rita shared with her children.
“I’m sorry mom, that had to be tough and feel kind of lonely,” Francine responded with empathetic understanding.
“Yeah, I get it, the theater students are definitely my people,” added in Frank.
“Alright you two, it is getting really late. We better get ready for bed, since tomorrow is going to come fast,” smiled Rita, as she rose from the bed to hug her son goodnight.
Francine begrudgingly got up from the bed, to hug her mom goodnight, “Thanks mom for visiting tonight,” she said, braving a quick glance at the magazine which sat waiting on the night stand.
“You bet, I loved hearing about your day and the new connections you made. Keep me posted on what happens,” Rita pulled her daughter close, whispering in her ear, “I will do the same tomorrow with the magazine.”
Standing alone in her bedroom Rita contemplated picking up the magazine. She knew if she did, it would stir up even more, she was already zooming with her own exploration and now found herself processing Francine’s story. Glancing over at the magazine she smiled, it sure was changing her life and her daughter’s. “I wonder,” she thought, “are there other people in the world who found the same kind of magazine? This couldn’t be the only one. Could she give it to someone? Maybe next week when Francine was at her dad’s she could take it to work, put it somewhere for Sharon or Ken to pick it up and see what happens when they open it. But, what if they took it? Hmmm…, she’d have to think about that.”
Setting her alarm for even earlier than she did today, Rita climbed into bed, hoping to quiet her mind for a deep sleep. It will be interesting to see what the magazine stirs up tomorrow morning.
To be continued… 26