Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just Write: Human paint splatters

photo credit
Some days at work, my head spins with all the colors of personalities splattered or brush-stroked like paint on the canvas of our coffee kiosk, inside this grocery store. 

Her this morning, one of my favorites, telling us with excitement how her mothers' support group was interviewed by NPR recently - all five couples of women - and how she and her partner have met with this group for over thirty years.  This month, these two women celebrate thirty-five years of committed love, and in a world of fractured relationships, I marvel at this.  Of having weathered decades as mothers together, raising two boys, and this is no small feat.  

And it was him.  So small in his wheelchair on the other side of the counter, one leg missing and the other with a bare foot dangling beneath a ratty red pant leg.  His face covered with day-old scabs, almost fresh. He sat off to the side drinking his coffee, and before we knew it, he'd left a pile of his clothes on the floor in a stench of urine.  I glanced to my left just in time to see his exposed back, wheeling down the aisle with nothing but the chair to cover him, puffing on a cigarette and our manager racing through the store to find him.

Not to mention the her of yesterday, wheeling to the counter and leaning in to hiss, "Turn on the fireplace!" And I apologized, explained that the fireplace is more decorative than useful, to which she blinked and replied, "Honey, fake it.  You know, like when you first get married."  And so I went to the fireplace and turned some knobs and felt for heat that didn't emit, returned to her and said, "Behold, your roaring fire."

It's here, in the gray days of Seattle's winter, that I savor the lines etched, the colors splashed, and how I, on the easel, do gradually transform.  

Linking up these free-flowing thoughts with Heather at Just Write today. 


  1. Amber...wow, friend, this is amazing! How incredible these splatters of life you see in your everyday. So distinct, so vivid. You are storing up such a treasury. I cannot even tell you how much I loved the woman who insisted you make a fire and "fake it" (haha) and then your response --"Behold, your roaring fire." Oh my gosh, I am laughing and smiling and wondering at all the ways you bring love into this world. This is beautiful.
    P.S. I've wanted to write you and will. This week has been cooky, and I'm still working on a big deadline, but I'll be in touch. Thinking of you lots!

    1. Oh my dear, while I'm so happy this made you laugh and enjoy the vivid imagery, I'm not sure it reflects all the love I bring into the world as much as it reveals my struggle, much of the time, to love people and allow their paint splatters to change me into a less judgmental, more loving human being! Thank you, for seeing the potential in me when it can easily appear to the contrary :-) I do love you so, and thank you, again and again, for your words like honey here...