You told me there was more, outside the small window in the bare wood door, more to see, to know, to feel, to explore. I was a superhero, in your eyes, in my multicolored dreams and multifaceted yearnings. Outside our small, cold, cramped home, there was more.

I don’t know, even now, why I believed you, but I did. I believed that I was bigger than our small life. I believed that one day I’d soar, find my way, dream, build, live, explore. I believed insanely in the veracity of a life beyond our worn walls.

It’s not that you were perfect—I knew that even then. You had your share of invited persecutions, of self-sabotaging delusions, of days, weeks, months of malaise, of despair, of short cold days and colder nights. Your temper was short and your wrath wasn’t spared. But you always had one thing, and there wasn’t a single day when it wasn’t evident. You had hope. And you shared that hope with me.

I watched as life passed by, through the small windows, through the cracks in the walls where the light peeked through and the wind whistled. I watched as you weathered the storms, and you shouldered the trials, as you skipped meals so that I never went to bed hungry. I watched as the pickup truck broke down and the mechanic stole what meager savings you had. He fixed the truck, took the cash, drove away. You walked the miles to work for months.

I was scared then. Scared the landlord’s threats would become real, that we’d lose the balance of the scarce timidity that sustained us. But every night, no matter how late, you’d tuck me in, plant a slight kiss on my forehead. And every morning you’d find a smile.

2016.09.07 RBWG writing for Art in the AM

Inspired by a painting by Linda Minkowski