We’re headed to the great northwest to attend a ceremony. The initiation began four years ago when Amy, our niece, was accepted into medical school. Her initiation is about to continue for another four years, but now she’s a doctor.
I don’t want to stop writing the story, which is exactly why it’s a good time to stop. I’ll want to return and I’m sure to remember.
The last time I saw Lisa, she was a street artist on the mall in Boulder. I was home visiting my parents, and I’m sure she saw me before I saw her. After all, I’d spent a summer with her where I never once wore glasses.
She wanted me to pose, and then gave me the drawing. I didn’t like that one either, but Lee wasn’t there to burn it and I wasn’t quite as stupid.
She said something that evening that worked a bit like the painting Lee burned. I had mentioned her family and she said, in that other-worldly voice of hers, “I wonder which stories we told you.”
I’m glad she said that, it’s something I’ll get back to, and I’m glad I don’t really know what Lee saw that I didn’t and had to imagine. Maybe he was just messing with me and didn’t like the way I criticized. I’d done that earlier in the summer, when Lee showed me a manuscript of the book the two of them were writing. I never saw it again.
I don’t often talk about the book, because Lee didn’t make a lesson out of it and I didn’t realize what happened until long after the summer. But when he burned that painting, he gave me a magic mirror I would often look into.
It’s been a powerful projective test for me. Not only is it extremely ambiguous and charged with meaning, but it can hold whatever I shine its way. I can see bad art and a cartoon image, and often I see the young fool that’s full of himself. But sometimes the well opens deep.
I’m seeing something very different this morning.
The young man in the drawing, I’m looking at it now, is an idealized image. She saw a better person than I saw in myself, and for some crazy reason it bothered me.
What did Marianne Williamson write that Mandela spoke so powerfully: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
I think I’ll leave it like that for now.