I attended a half day writer’s workshop yesterday…you know the routine. After the facilitator reads inspiring works of literature, you are given a writing prompt and 30 minutes to record your thoughts. Usually, I’m not fond of the prompts, but I liked this one, so I thought I’d pass it along to you.
At the bottom of your heart…
At the bottom of my heart, there’s a mess
A beautiful mess
There are stacks and piles, bits and fragments,
Bright colors and blurred lines
All collected over more than half a century
It is a painful and joyous mix
It is particular and general
Fanciful and serious
It is, I imagine, not so different from what is at the bottom of every one else’s heart
And, yet it is uniquely mine.
There is the face of my very elegant third grade teacher who seemed to approve of me in the way I wished my mother had and often simply wrote “tres bien” at the top of my papers.
There is the memory of the summer day when I drove my shiny new olive-green 1967 Mustang down the street and the handsome guy stopped in the car next to me at the red light shouted out his approval.
There is a small herb garden just outside the kitchen door at my Nonnie’s house. I’m picking and she’s cooking just inside.
There is the note I’ve left on the counter for my grandmother 35 years ago stating that “Tom has picked me up for dinner and will return me at around 8 or 9 …. Or “maybe never” scrawled in his horrible writing below mine.
There is a smile that stands out from the rest. It’s the smile of a darling boy who grows into a very handsome young man but never has the chance to grow old.
There is an angel, Mary. Once a week for that horrible year, I came to her and spilled out my life. She helped me find my strength.
There is the Mexican family who served us dinner for years in their tiny restaurant, and also opened their hearts to me and my family.
There are the faces of neighbors and friends who have come and gone but will always remain.
There is the doctor with the heavy German accent, the stylish blonde hair and the sensible brogues worn with fashionably simple black under her white coat. I trusted her with my daughter.
And my daughter, so difficult in birth, yet so easy in life. My joy.
There is a push and a pull at work in this very messy heart. It can be difficult to leave the door open. It is not without pain or risk or effort. But it is not yet full.
I’d love to know what’s at the bottom of your heart, dear reader!