Monday, November 23, 2015

invisible handprints

short. blond. permanently rosy cheeks,
like he had just been in from the icy outdoors.
but he was nice.
and he dressed somewhere between gq and hipster.
glass water bottle. never coffee.
he was thoughtful.
he was funny, in his own way.
he always looked out the window at the sky when he talked.
(he never lectured. he talked.)
he encouraged. he guided.
(he never forced.)

i never knew him well
but he left invisible marks on me.
he was a teacher, a coach, a trainer
who handed me a sword
that looked a lot like a pen.

he was the one that said
you can do this.
you can write.
write whatever comes out.
write passionately, without pause.
write wholly.
edit later.
write until you fix the problem.
write about things that make you mad
(not the angry mad, but the crazy mad. the insanity
that makes you want to change things.)
write until you figure things out.

the best part is
he was right.
and so the hand print that he left was a good one.
invisibly white
you can see it glow slightly, still warm
from the branding.

i know her better than i thought i ever would.
another teacher.
there were actually three. but they've sort of combined themselves in my mind.
some fun. some drive. some melancholy.
some wit. some tact. some bluntness.
but she makes me practice even the things i don't like.
she helps me conquer those black dots on the page.
she makes me dig in.

i made her cry one time. playing a song that i didn't even know the meaning of.
i made her proud, i made her husband smile.
i made her laugh, playing the Can-Can with my left hand where my right would usually be
and vice versa. and she let me play it like that at the recital.

she left another hand-print.
its on the base of the tree. its part of the bark pattern.
its ingrained in me.
another invisible hand print, just as good as the other one,
but colder. it's older. its more mature.
i know i can use it.
when i can't go forward anymore,
and i have to decide whether to go up or down instead.

a bit of an audible compass, it is.
hers is the voice that guides it.

but these hand prints,
these brands.
they did actually hurt at first.
when they first got there, it was an icy-hot searing pain.
a door opening, an opportunity
to grow and become just a little bit more myself.
one of those hidden doors that you don't realize is there until
someone waltzes in and starts moving soul furniture that's been there for years
and behind it materializes a rusted sort of door in the wall and you can feel the room behind it
suddenly being hollowed out and made empty.
empty of all the unnecessary, full of possibility.
and then that someone waltzes out again, saying: use that thing i gave you. see if the door opens.
and then they leave, and all that's left is their voice.

they helped.
the short professor
and the music teacher.
now both are voices in my head.

guiding me. principles:
write everything, then take out the extra.
play slowly, then challenge yourself.
go to that room and bury yourself in the possibility and the passion that resides there.

and both, when i've given up
when i'm discouraged, when
i don't think i can do it anymore,
they pull me up, and say
no. you're going to finish this.
you're going to do this.

and i wonder at what point they will stop being
the short professor and the piano teacher.
and they will become my own voice.
at what point will they become a part of me.
at what point will the hand prints spread, becoming the ridges of my soul
spreading out of the hollowed-out room and into the rest of me.

and at what point will i say the same things they told me
to someone else

and when and if i do, will it leave a hand print?

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