Color Doodle

color-doodle

I am old enough to know my numbers because Mom points to the black and white alarm clock on the bedside table and tells me I can wake her when it says 3-1-5.  She is trying to catch a nap while I play with her tin of necklaces—strings of beads and shells that clatter against the metal when I tug at the tight lid and it finally gives way.  The numbers of the clock are white on small black plastic rectangles that flip like cards in a rolodex.  There is a small click as a number falls into oblivion.  Do I understand the concept of time, or am I just watching for 3-1-5?  I am waiting and doing something grown up.

I am lying in bed, waiting for sleep, listening to the hollow flow of the Edens Expressway. It sounds like someone breathing or like a heart beat or like Mom’s rocking chair after being tucked in–someone is there even though I can’t seem them.

I am seven, and my younger brother is five and a half, and Mom and Dad and I have a secret.  Each night when Noel falls asleep, I sneak into my parents’ room and join them on the bed.  Sometimes they are watching Masterpiece Theater.  Sometimes they are doing needlework or reading.  Sometimes Mom and I play a game.  She takes a yellow legal pad and scribbles random lines—zig-zagging-, swirling-, figure-eighting-lines—all over the paper.  Then we look for things in the random shapes.  “I see,” Mom says, holding the “see” like a whole note, “a house.”  Then she takes the pen and traces certain lines to reveal a house.  “I see,” I say, holding the “see” like a whole note, “a flower.”  Mom hands me the pen, and I trace the lines that make a flower.  Bees, dogs, rabbits, faces, socks, windows, and leaves, we find a whole world in the 8.5 x 14 space of one yellow legal pad.

I am lying on my bed, watching the red and white lights of planes blink across the sky.  I watch to see where the next blip of light will appear, what line will be revealed, and when it will be drawn beyond the frame of my window.

I am sixteen.  I want to paint like Van Gogh.  I go through my bedroom window onto the roof to work on a canvas.  A deer appears in our yard, and because deer do not come to our neighborhood by the highway, I feel doubly lucky to be on the roof where I can see its whole tawny form against the greenery like one of the found creatures on a legal pad.  It pauses and looks back as though something is pursuing it.  It leaps the viburnum bush, darts across the street and disappears into the margins of other homes.

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