What is it like coming home?
The land here unfolds and stretches, lazily sprawling. The sky swallows, consuming. And the sun, the sun exits by stretching into its deepest pose, by craning its neck forward, by dipping downward, swan-diving until it sinks under the sea of gold-tinted soil.
When I walk into Bagel Boy I fear being stepped on. The Lincoln High School cheer squad almost runs me over. Their ponytails give me a little whip and a whiff of no-frizzle-berry-blast as they cluster the counter to catch their cinnamon raisin crunch.
On the way out, I follow a family herd of hungry locals. One grabs the door, but not long enough. It hits my back, catching my cushion with a little thud.
Be wary. Each stride is wide. These are strides usually uninhibited.
“Look, the professional came to help! How are you, Vanessa?”
I can’t tell if she’s sarcastic or not.
If so, ouch. If not, well.
Okay. I mean, I’d like to think I’m okay with a paintbrush. The green garage here looks pretty nice, anyway. So did a couple dozen sets for various shows in college. But I’m not sure getting paid to act–regardless of any further details–qualifies me as a professional when I show up on Painting Day for the musical.
I try to maintain professional composure as I climb the scaffolding. The full paint can precariously swings on my arm, my pants conveniently ride low while my shirt enjoys a high-ride. My hair falls in my face, determined, it would seem, to find an entrance via eyes and mouth.
At the top, I decide I need to start on the other end. With bars to maneuver around, I opt for going under instead of over (thankyoushortlegs). Nope, not going to work. Take #2 results is strained tip-toes and a not-so-pleasant sort of straddle.
Next, my rolling procedure: spray half the paint on me and hope the other half hits the wall. (After a particularly exciting splash of liquid,) I decide no one can see me up so high, anyway.
I leave a speckled blob of white. Hair, eyelashes, hands and knees–everyone got a little action.
Don’t look too closely at that backdrop, folks.
Sarcasm, Vanessa, sarcasm. Whether she meant to, or not. Sarcasm.
At the end of the day, I find the corner of my bed. (That spot that (with 5 pillows) props me perfectly.) I open my computer and let my fingers find the keys as if settling to play a familiar tune at the piano. Maybe Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude. I write,
with nothing to stop me, nothing
but the wind to soothe me.