Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." --Christina Baldwin

Hey everyone! I was a little reluctant to post this, because of it's level of...I don't know, "special-ness," but motivated by our recent discussions of Romanticism vs. Realism in my literature class, and the realization that maybe I'm not the only one who needs it, I decided to share it. It's based off of a real experience, but literary liberties have been taken, including the changing of names. I'm not sure about a few details, and will probably edit a bit more before filing this away (especially the ending, and the title--I feel iffy about those), so I'd love any feedback you all have. For those who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I hope I've written this in such a way that you can still find a message and meaning. If I haven't, let me know if it's possible to do so.

A dedication

I was helping the Wrights paint their kitchen. What had started as a “new handles for the kitchen drawers” project had turned into a “new wall-paper and paint everything” project. It was after 11 at night, and Sandra and I were the only ones with enough energy left to finish the cupboards. I was standing in front of the counter, paintbrush in hand, while Sandra finished taping off the new handles. Everyone else had gone to bed.
I sighed. “For being so darned optimistic all the time, you’d think Emily would have thought about the time this project would take.”
Sandra laughed. “That’s Emily for you,” she said.
“I know,” I replied. I filled a Tupperware container with light green paint. “I worry about her sometimes.”
I hesitated. I had said that without thinking much about it, but now that I had brought it up, I had to follow through. I don’t know why. The Wrights were too good to me for me to be dishonest with them. “Because…” I said. “Because sometimes, she seems to think the world is…made of sunshine and rainbows and butterflies. And it’s not. I’m…I’m afraid for her sometimes. Because the real world isn’t like that, and someday she’s going to have to really go out in it, and it…she’s going to get hurt.” I pressed the lid of the paint can back into place. Sandra was quietly pulling a piece of masking tape from the roll. I climbed onto the counter. “I mean, I love Emily. I really do. But…she drives me crazy sometimes. Life isn’t sunshine and rainbows and butterflies.” I adjusted some of the tape around one of the handles. “But maybe I’m just…a cynic.”
Sandra climbed onto a footstool. “Do you know about Emily?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“About her story? About who she is?”
“No,” I replied. I hadn’t been aware that there was a story.
Sandra smiled and reached down to pick up a second roll of masking tape. “Emily was supposed to be a boy,” she said.
I smiled. “Supposed to be?” I said. “Or they thought she was one?”
“Supposed to be,” Sandra replied. She pulled a length of tape from the roll and lined one of the cupboard handles with it. “Well, and they thought she was, too. Our mom had a dream about it. They actually weren’t even going to have any more kids, but she dreamt one night about Adam.”
I dipped my brush in the Tupperware container of paint by my knee, and started making wide strokes along the cupboard. “Who was Adam?” I asked.
“Adam was going to be the last child my parents had,” Sandra continued. “Mom knew he was a very special spirit, who was going to complete and strengthen our family.”
She was starting to sound a little like a New Era article, which I was afraid would happen. Or like one of those awful Christian chain e-mail stories that people forward to everyone in their contacts list. Maybe Emily’s optimism was genetic somehow. But I decided not to push it.
“They thought my sister was a boy for months, too,” I said, jumping off the counter to get a different brush.
Sandra smiled. “Yep, that was Emily. But in our mom’s third trimester, she went for an ultrasound and they told her they had made a mistake, and that she was going to have a girl. Mom told them to check again, and even went back a week later, but they told her that she had better think of a girl name fast, because that’s what was on the way.”
I hopped back on the counter. “Wow. I’m sure that was a surprise,” I said. Sandra picked up a brush and dipped it in my paint.
“Yeah, it was,” Sandra said. “Mom was pretty upset, actually.” She reached up to paint the cupboard next to me. “Really upset. She couldn’t figure out why Heavenly Father would give us Adam and then take him away again. She prayed and prayed, asking about Adam and why he wasn’t going to be a part of our family.” Sandra dipped her brush in the paint again, and slowly scraped the extra paint off on the sides of the Tupperware.
“Finally, she asked our dad for a blessing,” Sandra said. “She was so confused and couldn’t figure out what Heavenly Father wanted for her and the family. So Dad gave her a blessing.”
Sandra smiled to herself. I stopped painting and watched her face. “In the blessing,” Sandra said quietly, “Heavenly Father told her that he had sent Adam to a different family, one that needed him more. And because we didn’t get Adam, He was sending us a special gift, one of his very choicest spirits…one of his very most valiant and special daughters. And that was Emily.” Sandra looked up at me.
“That’s Emily?” I asked.
Sandra smiled again and made a wide stroke of paint on the cupboard above her. “That’s Emily,” she replied. She took three steps back.
“The kitchen looks much better,” she said thoughtfully. “Green was a good choice.”

1 comment:

isha said...

now I'm curious... :)
thanks for sharing liz